By Harry Keaney
Two Irish immigrants from County Louth and their 4-year old son died early Wednesday during a fire that engulfed their home in Hawthorne, N.J.
Killed in the blaze were James and Deborah Rogers, from Ardee, and their son Colm Andrew.
Two other members of the family, Una, 9, and Aoife, 6, escaped.
The blaze occurred sometime after 1 a.m. Wednesday when James Rogers returned from his work. It’s believed he was preparing some food and fell asleep on a nearby chair while it cooked. Injuries to his face hands, face and neck suggest he tried to put out the fire, according to authorities.
Meanwhile, Una lowered her sister Aoife 15-feet to safety from their upstairs room. But her brother Colm was too scared to jump. Una then leaped without him hoping to find someone to rescue him and her parents. But when firefighters arrived about 2:30 a.m., they found all three dead.
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The two girls were released into the care of their aunt in Yonkers, N.Y.
During investigations after the fire, a smoke detector was discovered, but the battery was in the reverse position.
James Rogers operated a construction company in New York called 2K Visions. Prior to forming this company, he worked with LJM Construction.
A wake will take place this Friday evening from 7-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. in Hodders Funeral Home, McLean Avenue, in Yonkers.
On Sunday, the bodies will be flown home to Ireland.
Burial will take place Tuesday morning in Ardee.