A New Jersey woman lost her grandson and his mother Sunday in a deadly house fire that left six dead in Newark, New Jersey.
Iris Sydney told The Associated Press that her 15-year-old grandson was to meet her Sunday morning at a Father’s Day church service to remember his father, who was killed in a bicycle accident two years ago.
The woman said her grandson never showed up at the church and learned from an Essex County sheriff’s deputy about the fire when she went to his mother’s house to find out why he never made it to church.
She said she and her grandson were visiting from Georgia and staying with the boys mother, Noreen Johnson, at the family home when it caught fire.
Authorities said a fast-moving fire ripped through a single-family home early Sunday, killing six people.
According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s office, the fire broke out at the three-story residence at around 4 a.m. and soon spread to another residence.
Both homes were destroyed, but residents in the second home managed to escape safely, said Thomas Fennelly, chief assistant prosecutor.
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While the cause of the fire remains under investigation, it doesn’t look suspicious, said Fennelly.
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Carol Valentine said her fiancé would have been caught in the blaze had he been home at the time of the fire. Instead, he was out of town and returned early Sunday to his home while it was still burning.
“He’d been delayed on planes for two days. He had gone to a graduation,” said Valentine. “Had he not been delayed, he would have been sleeping, and he probably wouldn’t be alive.”
The Rev. Thomas Ellis, who lives in the neighborhood, paid his respects and offered support to the victims’ families.
“For the city of Newark, this is a sad and tragic day,” he said. “The community is hurting.”
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