BELMONT, the Bronx — Police have released the names of all the people who died in a massive fire at a Bronx five-story apartment building on Thursday.
The youngest victim was 7-month-old Amora Batiz. Her grandmother Maria Batiz, 58, was also found dead.
Four members of one family were all killed in the fire: Karen Francis, 37 and her children Kylie Francis, 2, and Charmela Francis, 7. Francis’ 19-year-old niece Shantay Young was also killed.
Emmanuel Mensah, a -28-year-old serviceman who was home from the holidays, died while attempting to rescue residents from the flames.
The remaining five victims have been identified by police as Gabriel Yaw Sarkookie, 48, Justice Opoku, 54, Solomon Donkor, 49, William Donkor, age unknown and Hannah Donkor, 17.
It is New York City’s deadliest fire in a quarter century. The blaze was started by a small child playing with a stove on the first floor, Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The child’s mother heard him screaming and was able to escape the unit. However, according to Nigro, she left the apartment door open.
“This fire quickly spread up the stair,” Nigro said. “The stairway acted like a chimney. It took the fire so quickly up stairs, people had very little time to react. They couldn’t get back down the stairs. Those that tried, a few of them, perished.”