HILLSBOROUGH, N.J. (Diya TV) — A Rutgers University researcher, his wife and their 13-year-old daughter were among those killed during a two-alarm blaze that ripped through a Hillsborough township apartment complex last week.
Vinod B. Damodaran, 44, Sreeja Thekkekoical-Sasi, 38, and Aardra V. Nair, 13, were each pronounced dead at the scene of the fire, according to the Somerset County prosecutor’s office.
Damodaran has been attending Rutgers since 2013 as a post-doctoral associate, according to a spokesperson for the school. He was conducting research at the New Jersey Center for Biomaterials at the university according to a bio associated with a book he co-authored on biomedical polymers.
According to his professional profile, Damodaran possessed his doctorate degree and listed his areas of expertise as biomedical social sciences, chemistry, materials science, and polymer science.
The fire damaged at least four apartments in the complex, authorities said. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, they added. However, it appears to have started in a bedroom in one of the apartments on the second floor of the complex before it spread to the roof, authorities said. When firefighters arrived on scene, an upstairs unit was fully engulfed in flames.
The bodies of the trio were discovered shortly before 11 p.m. last Monday, when firefighters contained enough of the blaze to enter the complex.