Cigarettes caused a fatal house fire on East Second Street on November 16, the Suffolk County Police Department said today.
A police department spokesperson was unable to provide additional information immediately.
In January, Laura Rivera, sister and aunt of the victims, said investigators handling the case had recently told her they believed the fire was caused by a discarded cigarette.
“What they say is that it was a cigarette – that someone was smoking on the terrace of the house where my family lived and when he finished he threw it away without realizing that it was still on and there was furniture nearby,” Rivera said on January 13. “We were told that so far no criminal hands would be involved in this case,” she said.
Rivera told RiverheadLOCAL in November that one of his nephews celebrated his 24th birthday with friends on the front porch of the house hours before the fire. The friends left before 10 p.m., she said. Shortly after, a massive fire engulfed the 114-year-old home.
A police department spokesperson could not say today whether the fire started on the porch, as Rivera said, or inside the three-story multi-family home.
The fire killed five members of the Rivera family, who lived in the third-floor apartment: Zonia Dinora Rivera, 41, her children, Carlos Cifredo Peñate Rivera, 24, and Andrea Isamar González, 16, and her nephews, Douglas Edgardo Rivera Aguirre. , 24 years old, Carlos Alberto Ramos Aguirre, 22 years old.
Police say five residents who lived in apartments on the first and second floors of the house, including building owner Carmela Cannella, escaped unscathed.
This story will be updated with additional information as it becomes available.
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