NEWARK - A family in mourning is hoping they will be able to say goodbye to six loved ones Saturday despite overwhelming funeral costs.
They are working through invoices and red tape to ensure the remains of all those killed in last weekend's fatal house fire in Newark will be at the funeral.
Along with overcoming grief, comes the stress of paying for two cremations and four burials at a total cost of $28,000. Collecting the money is going down to the final hours.
Funeral directors say they are doing what they can to help family members. "When she came in and said, 'Look, I lost two of my sisters, my son, my nephew, and my mother.' I mean, what do you say?" says Ozzie Boykins.
Reverend Christopher Gordon is conducting Saturday's service and his church members are paying for two of the burials, at a cost of $10,000. So far, they only have half of the money.
"I only got $4,500, so the church emptied its account just for the purpose of helping her," he says.
The memorial service will be held at Solid Rock Baptist Church in Irvington, but even now, there's a question as to whether two urns will be there. The family is trying to prove the bill was paid after some paperwork was misplaced.
The Director of the New Jersey Funeral Directors' Association says the cost of the clergy, the music, and especially the burial plot make the average funeral $9,000.
The collections will continue and so will the bills, long after the victims are laid to rest. Cotton Funeral Home representatives are doing what they can and have taken more than $5,000 off the cost of their services.
There will be a viewing at the Solid Rock Baptist Church in Irvington Saturday at 8 a.m. The funeral begins at 10 a.m.