Union City church damaged by fire to be rebuilt

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UNION CITY -

A Union City church that was severely damaged in a massive fire more than three months ago will be rebuilt and restored in a multimillion-dollar project.

The Archdiocese of Newark put out a statement announcing its plans to rebuild Saints Joseph and Michael Catholic Church on Central Avenue.

Officials say the fire started in an apartment building and quickly spread to the church.  The deadly fire claimed the life of 2-year-old Eddie Gonzalez Jr.

The toddler's father, 26-year-old Eddie Gonzalez Sr., and another man, 20-year-old Edwin Diaz, were arrested for allegedly causing the fire.

The blaze damaged eight residential buildings, including 20 apartments, and affected more than 80 people.

The congregation has been holding services at several nearby schools, including Veterans' Memorial Elementary School.

The $5 million repair project will take about 16 months to complete, and the cost will be covered by insurance. Father Aro Nathan says it's going to be a very beautiful, modern church.

Many of the parishioners tell News 12 they can't wait to worship again under one roof again.

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