'Heartbroken' city holds funeral for 5 children killed by fire

Hundreds of mourners gathered Wednesday for a funeral for five young children who died earlier this month in a horrific fire that devastated a New Jersey community.

Inside the church, a group of priests blessed five white caskets that were topped with dolls and action figures, NJ.com reported.

“When it most hurts, you shall love your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength,” the Rev. Trinidad Cuevas told the gathering at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Union City, the news site reported. “With everything even though you shall suffer.”

“When it most hurts, you shall love your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your strength. With everything even though you shall suffer.”

- The Rev. Trinidad Cuevas

Authorities identified the fire victims as Jason Gonzalez, 2; Shamira Lopez, 4; Mayli Wood, 5; Cristian Josue Mendez, 7; and Jose Felip Tejada, 13.

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The five children killed in this month's fire in Union City, N.J.  (GoFundMe)

All were siblings, except Mayli, who was their cousin, NJ.com reported, adding that the children were asleep when the blaze began.

The five-alarm fire struck the morning of July 13 in an apartment building in Union City, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

After Wednesday’s service, police and firefighters helped escort the caskets out of the church to the sound of bagpipes.

People cry and become emotional as five caskets are loaded into hearses during a funeral for five children in Union City, N.J., Wednesday, July 25, 2018. The children, 2-year-old Jason Gonzalez, 4-year-old Shamira Lopez, 5-year-old Mayli Wood, 7-year-old Christian Josue Mendez and 13-year-old Jose Felipe Tejada,  died from injuries suffered in a July 13 fire. Officials have said four of the children were siblings, while the fifth was a relative. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Mourners gather outside a church in Union City, N.J., after a funeral for five children who were killed in a fire, July 25, 2018.  (Associated Press)

A man and a woman were injured in the fire and were recovering.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

Union City is covering the cost of the funerals.

“To say the city is heartbroken is an understatement,” Union City Mayor Brian Stack told NorthJersey.com last week. “The loss of five children is beyond devastating and it is our charge to rally around these families and offer our support."

“To say the city is heartbroken is an understatement. The loss of five children is beyond devastating and it is our charge to rally around these families and offer our support."

- Brian Stack, mayor, Union City, N.J.

A GoFundMe page was set up to raise funds for the victims’ families. As of late Wednesday, it had raised more than $49,000 toward a goal of $50,000.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.