A fire started by candles burning in a home with no electricity has killed three people in New Jersey's largest city.

The fire broke out Wednesday night in a three-story, multifamily residence in Newark's West Ward section.

The Essex County prosecutor's office said Thursday a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started on the second floor and was caused by the candles.

Firefighters say the blaze is the deadliest this year in Newark, a gritty city of about 280,000 residents just west of New York.

Authorities have identified the victims as 51-year-old Tammy Reid, 48-year-old Marvin Anderson and 42-year-old Charlene Ford.