Zonia Rivera with her daughter Andrea and her son Carlos when Andrea arrived in the U.S. Oct. 8, reunited with her mother after 11 years. Courtesy photo: Laura Rivera

Fundraising efforts are underway to help defray costs of funeral expenses for the family that perished in the horrific fire on Second Street in Riverhead Tuesday night.

Five members of the same family were living in a third-floor apartment at 46 East Second Street. When the 114-year old home became engulfed in flames late Tuesday night, they were unable to escape.

Zonia Dinora Rivera Mendoza, 41, her son Carlos Cifredo Peñate Rivera, 24, her daughter Andrea Isamar Gonzalez Rivera, 16, her nephew Douglas Edgardo Rivera Aguirre, 24, and his stepbrother, Carlos Alberto Ramos Aguirre, 22, all died in the blaze as they tried to escape the flames.

Now, their surviving family is faced with the grim task of arranging funeral services in New York, as well as making arrangements for transporting their remains to their homeland of Guatemala for burial.

The North Fork Spanish Apostolate is accepting donations to assist with funeral expenses. Donations may be brought or mailed to the organization’s office, located at 546 St. John’s Place, Riverhead NY 11901.

“This is a terrible tragedy. Five people, all from the same family, have perished and the pain for their loved ones is unimaginable,” said Sister Margaret Smyth, who runs the agency dedicated to helping migrants who live in the area. “They now have to face the coming days. Any donations to help this family are welcome.”

Kristen Leonard, a friend of the family, has started a GoFundMe page to help their survivors with funeral costs.

“They were a family that was built on love. You could not know them, without loving them. And to be loved by them, was an honor. Their tragic deaths have left a wound that can never properly heal,” Leonard wrote on the fundraising page.

“For the remaining members of the Rivera family, not only are they emotionally devastated but to properly care for those they have lost, they will also be financially devastated,” she wrote. “The upcoming days will require obtaining caskets for all five lost, organizing services and funerals in New York, as well as financially supporting the journey back to Guatemala, to rest in peace.”

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.