By Harry Keaney
The Hawthorne, N.J., Fire Dept. has already raised about $25,000 for the two young Rogers girls who lost their Irish-born parents and a younger brother in a house fire in Hawthorne on April 12.
After members of the fire department recovered the bodies of the three members of the Rogers family, their thoughts soon turned to the two survivors, 9-year-old Aoife and her 6-year-old sister, Aoife.
The victims of the fire were the girls’ father, James, their mother, Deborah, and their 4-year-old brother, Colm. The remains of all three were flown home to Ireland last week for burial in James and Deborah’s native Ardee, Co. Louth.
Soon after the early morning fire at Mary Street, the Hawthorne Fire Department set up a fund for the two surviving children.
"Needless to say, these two little girls face a life without a mother or father and the loss of a younger brother," the fire department said in a statement signed by Fire Chief Victor Tamburro. "The members of the Hawthorne Fire Department have always been there when called upon by the citizens of our community to assist in any means possible. In keeping with this tradition, the members of the Hawthorne Fire Department have established a fund to help these two children."
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"It’s going very well," Fire Marshal Alan Ribbe told the Echo Tuesday afternoon. He added that Fire Chief Victor Tamburro had set a goal of $50,000 and "we are pretty much over half of that." He also said that several other fund-raisers are planned in Hawthorne.
"Based on the way things are going, we would hope to exceed our goal," Ribbe said, adding that he urged people to continue their support, calling their generosity "unbelievable."
Ribbe also said that all cards and communications received by the fire department would eventually be handed over to the Rogers girls.
Donations may be sent to the Rogers Family Fund, Hawthorne Fire Department, 445 Lafayette Ave., West Orange, NJ 07506.
People seeking further information on this fund may call Fire Chief Tamburro at (973) 423-5550 or Fire Marshal Ribbe at (973) 427-7544.