Somerville, NJ girl recovering from fire that killed her younger sister
The aunt of the little girl killed in a house fire in Somerville last week said a vigil is being planned to honor Cecilia "Cece" Brizuela.
On Dec. 10, the 8-year old became trapped on the second floor of her burning home and died. Her 9-year old sister, Juliana, managed to escape the two-alarm blaze. She was taken to a burn unit in critical condition. The girls' 41-year old mother and her 31-year old boyfriend also escaped.
Police and firefighters received multiple 911 calls about the blaze on Eastern Avenue around 2 a.m. and found the residence fully engulfed when they arrived. They tried to rescue Cece who was trapped in the second-floor back bedroom but the flames and heat were just too much for them.
Fatima Brizuela, who is also Juliana's godmother, told New Jersey 101.5 that while the families are heartbroken, she is grateful to report that Juliana has made remarkable progress in her recovery at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.
"In characteristically Juliana (who we all call Juju) form, she has exemplified unbelievable strength and determination to continue to heal while too suffering the loss of her sister and the pain that brings. We call that Brizuela Brave," she said.
The girls' father, Jorge, has remained at Juliana's bedside, only leaving the hospital for a quick shower and meal pick-up, Brizuela added.
Only the parents are permitted in the room with Juju so the others wait patiently in the lobby for updates.
Brizuela also said the girls' mother, Rebecca, and her boyfriend are on the mend too.
While the little girls lived primarily with Jorge and his fiancee in Middlesex this past year, Brizuela said he is grateful to know the mother's family has created a GoFundMe to begin their rebuilding efforts and that the community has rallied support to fund the unthinkable for any parent — to lay their child to rest and to continue planning for the other child's long recovery.
The father's family has also created a GoFundMe to help with the challenges ahead.
The Brizuela family will also be hosting a candlelight vigil in honor of Cece on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 4 p.m. in front of the Brizuela household, located at 119 Fairview Ave., Middlesex, NJ.