Newark House Fire Victims' Deaths Ruled Accident

The blaze, which started at around 4 a.m. Sunday, overtook the structure on the corner of Madison Avenue and South 15th Street

The deaths of six members of a northern New Jersey family who perished in a house fire last weekend have been ruled accidental.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray announced Wednesday night that 11-year-old Zion Forbes, 35-year-old Natasha Kinsale and 58-year-old Reginald Stewart all died from smoke inhalation.

Stewart's 58-year-old wife, Salome; her 43-year-old daughter, Noreen "Michelle" Johnson, and Johnson's 15-year-old son, Stephon Sydney, died of smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation.

All six died when the fast-moving fire roared through the Stewart's single-family home in Newark early Sunday. Johnson and her son were visiting from Crawford, Georgia, while Forbes — who lived in East Orange — was staying with his grandmother for the night to see the visiting relatives.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Murray said earlier this week that the fire did not appear to be suspicious.

The home didn't appear to have working smoke detectors, and there were highly flammable plastic flowers lining the porch and front of the house that are thought to have played a role in the spread of the Father's Day blaze.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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