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House fire victims’ deaths ruled an accident

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The deaths of six members of a northern New Jersey family who perished in a house fire last weekend have been ruled an accident.

Firefighters checked the remains of a burnt house for clues to determine the cause of a fire that authorities say killed six people in Newark
Firefighters checked the remains of a burnt house for clues to determine the cause of a fire that authorities say killed six people in Newark (AP Photo / Mel Evans )

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.

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