Officials: Husband and wife killed in 3-alarm Passaic apartment complex fire

Passaic Mayor Hector Lora identified the victims as Fred and Yvonne Edwards. The 70- and 80-year-olds were longtime Passaic residents and great grandparents.

Joti Rekhi

Mar 3, 2024, 5:26 PM

Updated 51 days ago

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Two people were killed in a three-alarm apartment complex fire Sunday in Passaic, officials say.
The fire started on Spruce Street at 9 a.m.
Passaic Mayor Hector Lora identified the victims as Fred and Yvonne Edwards. The 70- and 80-year-olds were longtime Passaic residents and great grandparents.
Jade Kessel, who lived above the Edwards, was returning home after getting something to eat when she saw smoke billowing out of the apartment.
“I could see the smoke coming up real strong. It was black. And I knew, I ran back downstairs. I'm begging them to ‘get out, get out.,’” Kessel said. “Their door was on fire. My door was starting to catch on fire.”
She said the home was engulfed in flames within just minutes.
According to the Kessel, Yvonne Edwards would soon be going to Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, like she did every Sunday.
“She just graduated school to be a minister. And Fred was just Fred,” Kessel said.
Lora, fire crews and family members were on scene until 2:30 p.m. Passaic Fire Chief Patrick Trentacost said one fire fighter was taken to the hospital for first degree burns.
The fire destroyed four of the eight units in the apartment complex.
A mini van parked in front of the apartment was also completely charred with shattered windows.
“No one expects to wake up on a Sunday morning to tragic news that you have lost your loved ones,” Lora said. “I want to commend the work of the fire department, the police, the emergency responders, and the county prosecutor. The Governor called and I was able to put him on the phone with the family to offer his condolences.”
Lora spent the afternoon alongside the grieving Edwards family as they made funeral arrangements for the beloved couple.
“If ever you smell smoke, or have any indication of fire, your first step should be to get out of the house because material things can be replaced but not life,” Lora said.
The American Red Cross was providing services for displaced residents as of Sunday night. Anyone who would like to help the Edwards Family offset funeral costs can donate through the Mt. Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church Benevolent Fund by visiting the church's website.


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