FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx — Emotions can’t express the experience of residents trapped inside their apartment when a fire ripped through a Bronx high-rise building Sunday morning, killing 17 people, including eight children.
Wesley Patterson said he was trapped inside his third-floor apartment, right next to where the fire started.
He told PIX11 News he had no time to think as the stairwell filled with smoke – so the only way out for home was through a window.
One by one, firefighters pulled people out, even small children and babies, with strangers helping victims, as well.
Jay Jimenez has been hailed a hero as he sprung into action once he saw the thick, blank smoke.
“I’m destroyed,” Jimenez said.
Those who survived lost everything, including Fatima Wood, who ran down several flights of stairs without being able to see.
While trying to make it down, Wood said a man named Mohammed helped her family, grabbing her youngest daughter and bringing them down to safety.
“He’s a hero,” she said. “We are here making arrangements for housing instead of funeral arrangements.”
All day on Monday, crews went into the building to help clean up and help the fire victims salvage what they can.
Those who survived are holding on to what they do have – each other.
Outreach and support from the community, including the Red Cross, the NYPD and other New Yorkers are doing what they can.
A GoFundMe was launched to help building residents. More than $570,000 was raised as of Monday evening.
NYC Emergency Management set up Notify NYC short code messaging; New Yorkers can text 181STFIRE to 692692 for alerts in English, Spanish & French.
Residents were also advised to call 311 for help reaching people impacted by the fire. People living outside New York City can call 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675).