Brothers Jason Gonzalez, 2, and Christian Mendez, 7, and their cousin Mailyn Wood, 5, passed away on the 13th. Then, early last week, officials confirmed that a fourth and fifth child, 13-year-old Jose Tejada and a 4-year-old Shamira Lopez, had succumbed.
All of the children were siblings except for Wood, a cousin, officials said.
A public visitation will be held from noon Tuesday through 9 a.m. this Wednesday, followed by a public mass at 10 a.m.
The fire was reported about 9 a.m. at 416 25th St., between Bergenline and New York avenues.
Firefighters battled the blaze for about a half hour, cutting holes into the roof to let out heat and smoke, while at the same time rescuing the occupants of the building. The fire spread through two buildings before it was brought under control at about 9:30 a.m.
The cause of the fire was under investigation at press time.
Mayor Brian Stack said the town is accepting donations for the victims. A GoFundMe has been set up here: https://www.gofundme.com/union-city-fire-victims-fund
The aging housing stock and the town’s density in Union City makes homes particularly susceptible to fires.
Union City is particularly susceptible to fires due to its aging housing stock and the town’s density. As a Reporter story from 2011 noted, “Many older buildings have a small airspace, known as a cockloft, that’s situated between the roof and ceiling of the top floor units. Where buildings are of the same height and are adjoined, the cockloft often runs the entire length of several buildings, which can be an entire city block. A continuous cockloft can make it easier for a fire to spread rapidly from one building to the next.”
To help the residents, you can also make checks payable to the Union City Fire Victims’ Fund at Union City Fire Victims’ Fund, City of Union City, Office of Mayor Brian P. Stack, 3715 Palisade Avenue, 3rd Floor, Union City, NJ 07087.