CLIFTON — A house fire killed three people ages 65 years old and older and injured four first responders at the scene.

Clifton police and fire responded to the blaze at the multi-family home on Ladwik Lane around 7:30 p.m. Friday night, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.

One man and two women, all Clifton residents, were killed in the fire. Officials identified the victims as Steven Warga, 65, Elaine Warga, 71, and Helen Popovich, 95. Authorities added a fourth person was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center and is expected to survive.

The scene of a Clifton house fire on Nov. 18, 2022 that killed 3. (CBS 2 New York)
The scene of a Clifton house fire on Nov. 18, 2022 that killed 3. (CBS 2 New York)

Clifton police also said that three firefighters and one police officer were hospitalized with injuries from the fire. They are recovering.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families," police said in a statement on social media.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by the prosecutor's office and Clifton police and fire.

Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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