UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two men have been charged with in connection with a fire that left a 1-year-old boy dead in Union City, New Jersey this past weekend.
One of the defendants who was charged was the boy’s father.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez announced Thursday that the cause of the fire that killed Eddie Gonzalez Jr. was “incendiary.”
Prosecutors charged Eddie Gonzalez Sr., 26, and Edwin Diaz, 20, with allegedly starting the fire. They were charged with one count of causing widespread damage, and one count of creating widespread injury or damage.
Prosecutors did not specify what the defendants are accused of doing.
The blaze began in a second-floor apartment on Summit Avenue near 14th Street around 1 a.m. Saturday before spreading to the building next door.
When Union City police arrived at the scene, they found the building engulfed in flames, and all occupants had been accounted for except Eddie Jr., prosecutors said.
Eddie Jr. lived with his father, Eddie Sr.; his mother; and a 5-month-old sibling, prosecutors said. Eddie Jr.’s mother and the sibling escaped unharmed using the fire escape, and Eddie Sr. was found at the top of the fire escape, prosecutors said.
Eddie Sr. was initially taken to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, police said.
Officers entered the building but had to exit due to heavy smoke and fire. Meanwhile, burning embers also spread through the wind to Saints Joseph and Michael Church. The steeple was ignited and ended up toppling down as an even bigger fire raged.
Eddie Jr.’s body was found after the fire was extinguished.
In all, there were eight residential buildings and 20 apartments that were damaged in the fire, and more than 80 residents who were affected or displaced.