Heartbreak in South Plainfield

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.

February 23, 2012 1:04:08 PM PST
Fire is an equal opportunity killer. It discriminates not a rat's patoony in terms of class or race or income or education level or age.

We saw that in Connecticut on Christmas morning.

And we saw it this morning in New Jersey.

In a quiet neighborhood in South Plainfield, a 150-year-old farmhouse went up in flames overnight. Nine people were inside. Four made it out alive.

The ones who didn't were a grandmother and four of her grandchildren.

The sadness is just overwhelming, and regurgitates the sorrow we all felt over those five deaths in Stamford on Christmas morning - three sisters and their grandparents.

We don't know yet what happened in South Plainfield this morning. We don't know what caused the fire, and we don't know if there were working smoke detectors.

We do know that this was the third fire in that house in the past 30 years.

So many unanswered questions. And so much grief - for this family, for their neighbors, for the school mates of the children, for everyone, including us, the ones who cover this story.

We're in South Plainfield tonight, trying to find answers as the family and friends of the victims try to deal with their pain.

Jim Dolan and Carolina Leid are at the scene for us at 11.

Also at 11, we have a warning tonight to the thousands of American women believed to have gotten silicone breast implants made in France and sold in Europe and Latin America.

Those implants have been recalled, and although the products were never sold in the U.S., health problems from the implants are now most certainly in this country. Our investigative reporter Sarah Wallace has the story.

And our entertainment editor Sandy Kenyon is in Hollywood, covering the Oscars. Tonight he looks at how producers this year are trying to capture some of the "old" magic of Academy Awards past - by bringing back veteran host Billy Crystal.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast (does anyone else have a mild case of spring fever - and in the fourth week of February?), and Rob Powers with the night's sports, including highlights from the Knicks/Heat game in Miami.

I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.


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