NJ House Fire

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

Wake Held For 5 Children Killed In Union City House Fire

July 24, 2018 - 9:38 am
Categories: 

UNION CITY, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- A wake was held Tuesday for the five children killed in a Union City house fire two weeks ago.

The 21-hour-long  wake for the children – Jason Jason Gonzalez, 2; Shamira Lopez, 4; Mayli Wood, 5; Christian Josue Mendez, 7; and Jose Felipe Tejada, 13 – was held St. Anthony of Padua Church. The funeral will follow at the church on Wednesday.

As WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reported, tears streamed down the faces of everyone who had to take the long walk down the church steps after seeing the unimaginable inside.

"Oh my God – five children at the same time," said a mourner, Miss Elena.

The four siblings and their cousin lived in a third-floor apartment in a multi-family home that caught fire on Friday, July 13.

Officials say the blaze began on the first floor at around 9 a.m. that day and reached five alarms before firefighters were able to quell the flames at around 11:30 a.m.

A man and woman who were injured in the fire are recovering.

As WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reported, tears streamed down the faces of everyone who had to take the long walk down the church steps after seeing the unimaginable inside.

"Oh my God – five children at the same time," said a mourner, Miss Elena.

Miss Elena was Christian’s pre-kindergarten teacher, and was still trying to process the incomprehensible Tuesday.

She remembers Christian as being a bit shy, bit an enthusiastic learner.

“As soon as my assistant called me to tell me that was the family, I said, ‘Oh my God,’” Miss Elena said. “I felt that I had to be here.”

The usual prayers and hymns were heard inside.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but a July 17 report revealed the building’s owner was hit with 11 fire code violations, including failing to maintain fire alarms and smoke detectors.