Deadly Jersey City apartment fire claims life of popular minister

(11/17/04) JERSEY CITY Part of the Jersey City community is in mourning Wednesday after a deadly apartment fire claimed the life of a popular Lutheran minister.

According to family members, 56-year-old Peter Gusata was the first member of their family to notice a fire in their residence Tuesday night. The entire family was forced to vacate its second-floor apartment after unsuccessful attempts to extinguish the growing flames.

Despite leaving the apartment safely, family members say Gusata ran back into the burning apartment to retrieve important documents. He never came out. Firefighters later found his body in the apartments living room.

Gusata is survived by his wife and four children. Members at the Lutheran church where Gusata served as a minister say he is a kind figure who will be missed. Fire officials do not believe the blaze is suspicious.

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