Fundraiser held for Mount Vernon fire victims

Hundreds of family members and friends met at the Dominican Club to raise money so that the bodies of the four members of the Urena family can return to their native Dominican Republic for burial.

MOUNT VERNON - A fundraiser took place Friday night for the victims killed in a Mount Vernon fire earlier this week.

Hundreds of family members and friends met at the Dominican Club to raise money so that the bodies of the four members of the Urena family can return to their native Dominican Republic for burial.

Alcedo Urena, 60, his wife Nancy, 39, and their grown children, Jesus, 21, and Marselis, 18, were trapped by flames in the basement of their home on South Bond Street Tuesday morning.

The four died in the blaze that now has the Mount Vernon Fire Department responding to growing criticism about how it fought the fire and how quickly it responded. The Firefighters' Union is blaming the city for failing to provide firefighters with the tools and manpower to do their jobs.

The fire department is offering a donation collected by firefighters. Ernie Richardson, president of the Firefighters' Union, says city officials have agreed to a meeting in an effort to ensure that the department is equipped to protect the public.

Raymundo Urena, the sole survivor of the fire, disputes initial claims from fire investigators that the blaze started in a parked car near the house. The 19-year-old remains hospitalized.

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