Item Photo By OWEN O’ROURKE
The Rev. Dionisio Olivo expressed his grief at the Cruz memorial service.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
LYNN — Mourners grieved the deaths of four local fire victims in a Monday-evening service, hours after the state Fire Marshal concluded the Dec. 4 fire started in a stairwell with missing smoke alarms.
Maritza Cruz Vizcaino, age 42; Yasmin Cruz, age 20; Sonia Cruz, age 36; and Rodolfo Cruz, age 28 were remembered at the service at Goodrich Funeral Home on Washington Street.
Pastors from the Iglesia Adventista del Septimo Dia de Lynn, the church which the victims attended, spoke during the service.
“It doesn’t make sense what we’ve seen. Four people lost (their lives),” said Pastor Dionisio Olivo.
“(St.) Paul says that for him, to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” he said.
“If we live according to God’s instructions, it’s going to make sense,” Olivo said.
Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, in a statement,said the fire’s cause was “undetermined,” but did not rule out an electrical fire, arson or careless cigarette disposal as possible factors.
“An electrical fire is a possible cause, and while there are no obvious signs of foul play, an arson fire cannot be ruled out, nor can smoking be totally eliminated as a possible cause. Fire investigation standards require that a fire be left undetermined if investigators cannot eliminate all but one most probable cause,” stated Coan.
Two people were also injured in the 24 Bruce Place fire and 22 residents were left homeless.
In its statement, the Fire Marshal’s office declared the fire started in the front stairwell of the three-unit apartment building, normally used by the second floor tenants.
The four victims lived on the second floor. Other second-floor tenants were able to escape from the fire by using the back stairwell.
Investigators concluded smoke alarms were missing from several areas of the building, including the front hallway.
“This allowed the fire to get a huge head start before anyone was alerted to the early-morning blaze.The smoke had to enter the individual apartments where those smoke alarms gave people the first warning signs of danger, leaving them little or no time to escape,” the statement concluded.
Monday night’s service was described by funeral director John Anderson as a time for people to come in and pay their respects.
“It (was) structured so people who would like to come in and pay their final respects (had) the opportunity to express their sympathy,” he said. “It (was) a time of sharing and remembrance.”
“I know the family from church,” said Moises Rodriguez of Lynn. “They are very nice people.”
“That was too (terrible) what happened,” said Gabriel Paulino of Lynn. “My brother went to school with Yasmin. He has known them for a long time.
“They didn’t deserve to die like that,” Paulino said.
Anderson estimated that between 250 and 300 people attended the period of visitation, 150 of whom attended the service given by Olivo.
The victims will be transported to the Dominican Republic within the next few days where they will be buried, he said.