BEDFORD STUYVESANT, BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Sixth-grader Amanda Oliver spent her Friday afternoon mourning the loss of her best friend, 11-year-old Journee Miles, who was killed in a fast-moving fire in her Brooklyn apartment along with her mother and younger sister.
Amanda and her family helped set up a memorial of candles for Journee, her little sister, 9-year-old Kelsey Miles, and her mother, Danielle Havens, outside of their burnt and charred apartment on Gates Avenue.
Amanda and Journee were in the sixth grade together at Leadership Prep Canarsie. They’d gone to school together since pre-K eight years ago.
“I’m going to try to stay calm and I’m going to say I’m going to meet her in heaven one day,” Amanda told PIX11 News. “She was very sweet, very funny and kind.”
Amanda’s mother, Eulalee Oliver, said she was shocked when Journee’s father called her Friday afternoon with the news that he’d lost his two little girls.
“I couldn’t believe it. A month ago, they had a sleepover,” she added.
New York City fire marshals now know the cause of the fire that killed Journee, Kelsey and their mother.
Fire officials said the fire started in the kitchen, just after 5 a.m. By the time firefighters arrived within three minutes, there was already heavy smoke and fire.
“The truck units actually passed the fire to get to the rear bedrooms and rescued three patients out of the bedrooms,” FDNY Fire Chief John Sarrocco said at a news briefing.
Mayor Eric Adams, who also went to the scene, added: “The review is going to reveal just how a mother’s love is just extremely intense.”
Fire marshals ruled the fire, which started while cooking, was accidental. They also said there were no working smoke alarms in the apartment.
“That’s so shocking, so careless,” Eulalee Oliver said. “Every building in New York should have fire alarms.”
Grief counselors will be available Monday morning at the Leadership Prep Academy to help the young boys and girls who knew the two young fire victims and their mother.