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UPDATE: Authorities ID Three Seniors Killed In Clifton House Fire

29 Ladwik Lane, Clifton
29 Ladwik Lane, Clifton Photo Credit: Milehigh Invesco

A 95-year-old woman and two fellow residents – 71 and 65 – were identified Saturday as the victims found dead in a Clifton house fire.

Three firefighters, a Clifton police officer and a fourth resident also were injured in the blaze in a corner house on Ladwick Lane at Renaissance Drive near Van Houten Avenue in the city’s Athenia section on Nov. 18, authorities said.

Firefighters found two of the deceased victims on the second floor and another in the basement after the blaze broke out in the multi-family home around 7:30 p.m.

Killed were:

  • Helen Popovich, 95;
  • Elaine Warga, 71;
  • Steven Warga, 65.

“A fourth individual was transported to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center and is in stable condition,” read a joint announcement from Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, Clifton Police Chief Thomas Rinaldi and Clifton Fire Chief Frank Prezioso.

One city firefighter was taken to Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Two other Clifton firefighters and a city police officer were brought to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson with smoke inhalation.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the fatal blaze, which forced firefighters into a defensive operation almost from the start on a night when temperatures dipped near or below freezing.

Mutual aid, both at the scene and in coverage, was provided by several area fire departments.

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