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Loved Ones to Say Last Goodbyes to 5 Kids Killed in NJ Fire

What to Know

  • A funeral for the five children who died in the tragic apartment fire in New Jersey earlier this month will be held Wednesday

  • The fire ripped through a three-story home July 13, and in subsequent days five children died from their injuries; four were siblings

  • Union City will pay for the funerals of the five children

Funeral services will be held for five children who were killed in a raging New Jersey house fire earlier this month.

A public visitation that began at noon on Tuesday will continue through 9 a.m. Wednesday. It will be followed by a public Mass at St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church in Union City.

The children – 2-year-old Jason Gonzalez, 4-year-old Shamira Lopez, 5-year-old Mayli Wood, 7-year-old Christian Josue Mendez and 13-year-old Jose Felipe Tejada – died from injuries suffered in the July 13 fire. Officials have said four of the children were siblings, while the fifth was a relative.

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

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The city will pay for the funeral expenses through the Union City Fire Victims Fund, which has raised over $43,400.

Leber Funeral Home director Jim Leber said, "It's difficult. This is the toughest thing I've handled. Unfortunately, we've had children pass away from fires but to have four members of one family and their cousin, it's just absolutely devastating."

City officials said the building was zoned for two residential units and one commercial unit, but the landlord did not conform. The landlord now faces $60,000 in fines and about a dozen building and fire code violations, with more to come.

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