Civic officials here and in Newark are asking citizens to help with the relief efforts of those suffering from two separate fires - including one that killed five family members, on Dec.7-8.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Sharon Fields and Tyshammie Cooper are working in concert with Mayor Lester E. Taylor III and Fire Chief Charles Salley in bringing food, clothing and other non-monetary items to the city's fire stations. The items will go to three families who were burned out of their homes on 12-18 North 17th Street Sunday morning.
Donated items will be particularly going towards the Horton/Love family, who lost five of their own at 16 No. 17th St.
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office released the following names Dec. 8 as killed in the fire: Alice Horton, 79; Ronnie Horton, 60; Randy Horton, 56; Breiona Love, 20; and Lanore Carter-Love, 6 weeks.
A sixth family member, who remains unidentified, was treated at the scene by local first responders for minor smoke inhalation.
Four more people, who were living at 18 and 14 No. 17th St., were also burned out and rendered homeless. 14 and 16 No. 17 were leveled. The heavily damaged 18 No. 17th building will also face the wrecking ball.
Newark's North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos, Jr. is meanwhile looking to help up to 29 people among the seven families displaced by a fire that gutted or damaged three row apartment buildings on the 81 block of Bloomfield Avenue Dec. 8. Those three apartment buildings with ground floor stores are to also meet the wrecking ball.
Councilman Ramos is receiving particular help from the nearby McKinley Elementary Public School and Paquito's restaurant as drop-off sites. Two of the affected children are McKinley students; Paquito's is taking canned food, useable clothes and good-condition furniture.
Newark Fire Department spokesman Capt. John Brown said that two firefighters suffered minor injuries.
The Dec. 7 East Orange and Newark Dec. 8 fires are among several blazes in the Local Talk area that have displaced residents the last few cold weeks. There have been several injuries. Abraham Ragin, 19, was found dead after the fire at 656 Springfield Ave. East Orange, was put out Nov. 9.
The Dec. 7-8 fires were also pre-dawn blazes put out by fire department crews despite gusty wind. The fires' causes are still being investigated by presstime. The American Red Cross' Essex County Chapter helped with relocations.
EOFD Chief Salley said that the first units from the Grove Street Station responded to the report of a fire at 16 No. 17th at 6:08 a.m. They found 14, 16 and 18 No. 17th "engulfed in flames."
Firefighters promptly pulled two more alarms and rescued a woman from the third floor of 16 No. 17th St. Up to 80 personnel from Bloomfield, Irvington, Montclair, Orange, South Orange, West Orange and Millburn converged on North 17th Street's southernmost block.
Salley said that it took six hours to bring the fire under control due to the string wind. The wind blew smoke some 1.5 miles southeast, from East Orange's "Teen Streets" through Newark's Roseville neighborhood into Fairmount Heights.
Firefighters determined that 14 No. 17th was vacant - and that five people were missing - by 7:30 a.m. "Local Talk" also noticed WCBS TV footage of Irvington Ladder Truck 41's crew spraying one of the houses' attic or third floor.
18-12 No. 17th St. are or were three story wood frame houses, built 1900-30 for single family residents.
"Local Talk" found four EOFD units, a Yannuzzi excavator and a Trenton-based fire extinguisher company van on that block 3 p.m. Dec. 8. Officials had blocked the street at Eaton Place and had police tape separating sidewalkers from the scene from there to 25/26 No. 17th.
A man was seen leaving 18 No. 17th with a milk crate full of objects. That building's third floor was destroyed. The back vertical half of the building was charred. Vynal siding along its front half had deformed from melting.
The Yannuzzi excavator has already done its work at 16 and 14 No. 17th. Both houses, except for an intact garage at 14's rear, were piles of debris. 12 No. 17th appeared intact - but its front door window bore one of the city's infamous orange code enforcement "do not inhabit" sticker signs.
"The vacant house (14 No. 17th St.) is being demolished," said Salley late Dec. 7, "to stage a platform for arson investigators to systematically disassemble 16 No. 17th St. - where the fire started," said Salley.
Those wanting to donate food, clothing or other non-monetary items may be dropped off at the following locations 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.:
- EOFD Headquarters, 468 Dr. MLK, Jr. Blvd.
- Fire House 2 60 MLK Blvd./"New Main St."
- Fire House 3: 321 Dodd St.
- Fire House 5, 205 Elmwood St.
- OEM, 402 Springdale Ave.
Firefighters also arrived early and stayed late at the fire at 77-81 Bloomfield Ave., Newark. Capt. Brown said that the first NFD crews arrived at 1 a.m. All three three-story buildings were built around 1900 and shared common walls.
The 29 people, representing seven families among the two upper floors, were evacuated and put on an NJTransit No. 29 RTS bus to keep warm. Seven of NJT's bus routes would be rerouted around the fire scene until about 3 p.m.
NFD pulled three more alarms to bring up to 80 firefighters to the Lower Broadway section scene. An Irvington Fire Department spokesman said that one of its units covered the Mt. Prospect Fire House farther up the North Ward. Gusting wind, however spread the flames from 79 Bloomfield Ave. to the adjacent buildings.
Ramos, on his webpage, said that the two McKinley School students are 5 and 8 years old. He is particularly looking for 5-6 sized clothing and size 1 shoes for the 5-year-old; size 18-20 clothes and 4 size shoes for the 8-year-old.
Above said clothing and related items may be delivered to McKinley School 1 Colonnade Place, during school hours.
Non-perishable food, useable clothing or furniture may be delivered to Paquito's, 879 Broadway.