Saturday, May 21 2022

DOVER – Memories and valuables didn’t matter to Viviana Ramirez as she watched the fire burn in her house on New Years Day.

Her family was safe, and that’s what really mattered.

Ramirez, his son and nephew had spent a quiet night’s sleep as they greeted 2022 with hopes for a better year.

Their Thompson Avenue home was their oasis, but in the early hours of the New Year, they barely escaped the fire that engulfed it.

“I saw my house burn down, but honestly I didn’t even think about the material things,” Ramirez said in Spanish.

“It is difficult, but God gave us life. We have to move forward. We cannot continue to cry,” said the Colombian of the loss of the house she bought there. is 18 years old after arriving in the United States.

Following a devastating fire on Thompson Avenue in Dover on Monday January 3, 2022.

Ramirez shared the house with his son, Nicholas Suarez, 18, his nephew Santiago Valencia, 19, and 9-month-old puppy, Ace. The family fell asleep shortly after midnight, before the fire broke out.

At around 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, Ramirez woke up to the sound of smoke detectors. She entered the hallway to investigate and saw smoke and fire billowing from under the living room door. She yelled at her son and nephew to come down from the second floor.

“I yelled at Nicholas and Santiago to get off, but only Nicholas got off,” Ramirez said. “We were running outside, but when we saw that Santi hadn’t come out, Nicholas came back to get him.”

Within seconds panic set in, she said, as flames engulfed her house with her nephew still inside, then her son ran into the burning house to find him.

Her heart sank.

Viviana Ramirez, Nicholas Suarez and Santiago Valencia pose for a photo on Christmas Day.  The family of three lost everything in a fire on January 1, 2022.

“I saw the house catch on fire and I was ready to go in,” Ramirez said.

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At that moment, Valencia appeared from a second story window and screamed. Shortly after, he ran down the stairs and came out the door. He suffered burns to his arms and legs.

Suarez had reached the second floor, not knowing his cousin was outside. He found himself trapped when the flames reached upstairs. From the lawn, Ramirez yelled at his son to jump out the window. He took her advice and did it, just as the flames reached the window area.

Ace was still inside, however. He was rescued by firefighters but suffered injuries and is being treated.

“I saw my house turn to ruins. I’m sad, but we’re alive,” Ramirez said. “We are starting from scratch. We were only able to save the pajamas that we were wearing.”

Following a devastating fire on Thompson Avenue in Dover on Monday January 3, 2022.

The three were taken to Morristown Medical Center for treatment of smoke inhalation and some burns. Suarez, a Dover high school alumnus and former member of the school’s football team, suffered the most burns. Valencia, a high school student from Dover, also suffered burns to his arms. Ramirez was not injured.

Authorities in Dover are still investigating the blaze.

Nine-month-old Ace was injured in a fire on New Years Day in Dover.

“The dog has suffered a lot inside this house and inhaled a lot of smoke. He gets tired very just walking,” said Ramirez.

A day after the fire, Santiago’s older cousin Camila Parra launched a GoFundMe campaign to help her loved ones get back on their feet. In one day, over $ 11,000 was donated. Ramirez said she was grateful for the people who helped her without knowing who she is.

“The people have been so nice,” Ramirez added. “Everyone helped in whatever way they could. I feel extremely blessed during it all.”

Following a devastating fire on Thompson Avenue in Dover on Monday January 3, 2022.

The family live in Parra’s sister’s apartment at the moment. Before the fire brought her home, Ramirez was still paying her mortgage and now she worries about her family’s future.

“Life is priceless, and all of us, including the dog, are alive,” Ramirez said.

Donations to the family can be made through the GoFundMe page or by contacting Camila Parra-Valencia on Facebook.

Jessie Gomez is a local reporter for and For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jessiereport


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