by Caren Lissner From Patch.com
HOBOKEN, NJ — Business owners whose facilities were damaged in a fatal Dec. 20 fire in Hoboken — which took the lives of two artists — said they will march on City Hall on Friday because they are worried the building will be demolished, and aren’t getting answers or help.
They said they will start the march at 10 a.m. from the Jackson Street building, near the Hoboken/Jersey City border, and walk east to Hoboken City Hall.
“To date, we have little to no significant updates either from the city of Hoboken or the owners of the Chambord Building,” said one small business owner Wednesday. “Since this is still an active investigation, no one has been able to access their units, assess damage, or recover any salvageable items.”
He added, “Yesterday, we and many of the other businesses received a notice … notifying us that there is a scheduled walkthrough on February 14 to confirm that the building will be demolished.”
Several of the businesses have started GoFundMe fundraisers, including Hoboken Neon, whose owner is among those who is concerned about the business surviving.
Marilyn Tomasso said that her son Peter built the business, which opened in Hoboken in 2019, before he died of cancer later that year.
“We built a beautiful space and home in Hoboken just three short years ago,” she said this week, “and now everything is lost. Trying to find a new space is very difficult. No one seems to understand the gravity of the situation.”
Her GoFundMe is here: https://gofund.me/b0826e27
Prosecutor Gives Update
Meanwhile, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed Wednesday that the second artist killed in the Dec. 20 blaze was Alexander von Schlinke, 61. He was the partner of artist Rosemarie Vos, who also died in the blaze. A relative has launched a GoFundMe for funeral arrangements for the pair (see below).
The HCPO said Wednesday that they could still not say why the pair was in the building late at night.
They had said in an update last week that the blaze likely started in a business called the Glass and Vapor House. However, said a spokesperson for the prosecutor: “The fire victims were found on the first floor of the building, but not in the business where the fire originated.”
The fire began in the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 20 and damaged a large former factory that held dozens of businesses and art and music studios. A pair of married artists and local retail workers were found deceased in the building later that day.
Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said last week that according to a preliminary investigation by the Regional Arson Task and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, “The fire began in the rear of the building at Glass & Vapor House LLC and the cause has been ruled an accident. Investigators believe the presence of flammable material within that business likely contributed to the fire.”
Some directories have identified the business as a CBD and vape shop. A phone call to the business led to an out-of-order message.
Prosecutors said that at approximately 12:20 a.m. that Monday, an on-duty Hoboken Police officer heard a loud explosion in the area of Jackson Street, in southwestern Hoboken.
First responders arriving at the scene found a fire at 38 Jackson St., near the Hoboken/Jersey City border.
Firefighters later found two victims: Vos, 60, and von Schlinke, 61. A GoFundMe has been set up for both victims by Vos’ sister. READ MORE: GoFundMe Set For 2 Artists Who Died In Hoboken Fire
Friends commenting on the GoFundMe have said they knew the couple from the building.
Vos had identified herself on various social media as a baker at Acme, a garden associate at Home Depot, and an “Experienced Owner of Vintage/Antique refinishing and reselling business.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office at 201-915-1345 or leave an anonymous tip on the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office official website at https://www.hudsoncountyprosecutorsofficenj.org/homicide-tip/.