According to a press release from the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the July fire in Union City that led to the deaths of five children was ruled an accident.
The investigation into the origin and cause of the fire has revealed that the origin was in a multi-purpose room in Apartment 1 located on the first floor of the residential building and the cause was an electrical failure of a power strip located in the room.
A report issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on September 25, 2018 concluded that the melting in a powerstrip located in Apartment 1 is consistent with electrical failure, and sparks ejected from the power strip may have ignited combustible materials in the vicinity.
“This heartbreaking fire has been very traumatic for Union City as well as the entire Hudson County community,” said Prosecutor Esther Suarez. “Our Investigative Units, along with the help of our local, state and federal partners have worked diligently to provide a thorough investigation and possibly some closure for the community as to what caused this tragic fire.”
The names and ages of the children who died as a result of the fire are: Mayli Wood, age 5; Jason Gonzalez, age 2; Christian Josue Mendez, age 7; Jose Felipe Tejada, age 13; and Shamira Lopez, age 4.
Agencies responding to the fire were North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, the Union City Police Department, the Jersey City Fire Department, the Hoboken Fire Department, Union City EMS, McCabe Ambulance Services, Jersey City Medical Center Emergency Medical Services, the Union City Office of Emergency Management, the Jersey City Office of Emergency Management, the Office of the Hudson County Prosecutor, the NJ State Fire Marshals Office, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Prosecutor Suarez credited the following agencies that participated in the investigation: the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide Unit, Arson Unit and Crime Scene Unit, the Union City Police Department, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, the Jersey City Fire Department, the NJ Division of Fire Safety, the NJ State Fire Marshal and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.