South Plainfield Fire Remains Under Investigation

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SOUTH PLAINFIELD – Authorities were continuing to investigate a Thursday morning house fire in which five people died, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan and Chief James Parker of the South Plainfield Police Department announced yesterday evening.

Four others were treated for injuries suffered in the fire at a two-family home at 1407-1409 Clinton Avenue in South Plainfield, and one family member remained hospitalized.

In addition, two volunteer firefighters were treated for minor injuries they sustained in a two-vehicle crash while en route to the fire.

Police and volunteer firefighters received a call at 3:09 a.m. on Feb. 23 and went to the scene of the fire, which apparently was contained to 1407 Clinton Avenue, where the nine family members resided.

Investigators were working at this time to confirm the identities of those who died, and were awaiting reports by the Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office on the causes of death. The autopsies are scheduled to be performed today.

According to an report, relatives identified the victims as Ann Jefferson, 62; Alizae, 12; Tyler Davis, 7; Chris, 5 or 6 years old; and Elijah Taylor.

The American Red Cross is currently helping a family of three, two adults and one child, who were displaced them their Clinton Avenue home by the fire. Two members of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team responded to a call to assist the family Thursday afternoon. After meeting with the family to determine their immediate needs, temporary lodging and emergency assistance for food and clothing, as well as comfort kits containing toiletries, were provided.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office and the South Plainfield Police Department.

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