CAMDEN — A cigarette flicked onto a rug by a homeless man was blamed for starting a fire that claimed the lives of two people early Sunday.

Brandon Adams, 34, was charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder stemming from the fire at an apartment building on the 3400 block of Cramer St. The fire displaced 45 people from 18 families, who were assisted by Red Cross New Jersey.

According to the criminal complaint, a resident told investigators that she had to tell a man twice that night that he could not sleep in the building.

Adams initially denied he had been sheltering in the building but after detectives showed him a picture that the woman resident had taken, Adams admitted he was sleeping in the stairwell, according to the complaint.

Adams told detectives that after he flicked his cigarette onto the rug, a fire spread to the blanket he had been lying on and he left the building without telling anyone about the fire, police said.

The men who died were identified by their niece as Robert Romero and Luis Silva,  according to a GoFundMe page started to help with their funeral expenses.

Romano told 6ABC Action News that the Circle of Life Funeral Home is donating supplies for the funeral.

"My sister had to identify the bodies of not one but two uncles. The pain we are going through is unimaginable. All we want is to give them a proper home going," Erika Romano said on the GoFundMe page.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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