The community continues to mourn five members of a family that perished in a blaze that tore through a home on East Second Street Tuesday night.
About 150 people gathered for a vigil in front of the home at 46 East Second Street Saturday night to remember 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 half-brother, Carlos Alberto Ramos Aguirre, 22. The five family members were trapped inside the third-floor apartment of the four-family home. Five other people, residents of apartments on the first and second floors, managed to escape.
Today, about 1,000 people came from across the region to Stotzky Park, where a one-day soccer tournament was hastily arranged by the Riverhead Soccer League to raise money for the Rivera family, to assist with funeral expenses and the cost of repatriating their remains to Guatemala for burial. Eight teams contributed $500 apiece to play in the tournament. All proceeds from the event — including donations and sales of t-shirts bearing pictures of the family members, went to help the family. The event raised about $10,000, organizers said.
Emotions ran high at both events this weekend.
People attending the vigil Saturday night brought dozens of bouquets of flowers, religious images, candles, photos, toys and other objects to honor the members of the Rivera family, creating a large memorial along a fence erected outside the charred home. They wept and prayed together in the street, which Riverhead Police closed to traffic for around 90 minutes.
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