New Jersey

New Jersey Dad Charged in Fast-Moving Blaze That Killed Toddler Son: Prosecutors

The father of a toddler boy killed in a fast-moving fire in New Jersey earlier this month has been charged in the blaze, prosecutors say.

Eddie Gonzalez Sr., 26, and Edwin Diaz, 20, both of Union City, were each charged with one count of causing widespread damage and one count of creating a risk of widespread injury. If convicted, they could face up to five years in prison. 

The men are scheduled to appear in court April 6. Attorney information for them was not immediately available; Gonzalez Sr. was still hospitalized.

One-year-old Eddie Gonzalez died in the March 4 fire on Summit Avenue. Prosecutors say his mother and five-month-old sibling were able to get out of their burning apartment unharmed by using the fire escape.

Gonzalez Sr. was found at the top of the fire escape, and was taken to Jersey City Medical Center with burns and heavy smoke inhalation before being transferred to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. 

His son's body was found inside a second-floor apartment in the building after the fire was under control. 

Prosecutors say the fire started in the back room of the family's apartment at 1404 Summit Ave., and the cause has been determined as incendiary. 

Police officers were initially able to get into 1404 Summit Ave. just after 1 a.m. but had to turn around when smoke and fire overwhelmed them. The blaze soon spread to a neighboring building, and then its wind-swept embers carried over to other buildings, including Saints Joseph and Michael Church, damaging those, authorities said.  

Eight residential buildings and 20 apartments were damaged by the fire, and more than 80 people were affected or displaced, Hudson County prosecutors say. 

Neighbors have said Gonzalez Sr. tried to go back into his apartment to save his son but couldn't get in because othe black smoke. 

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