Survivors of deadly Bronx fire struggle with PTSD, anxiety in the aftermath

Local News

FORDHAM HEIGHTS, the Bronx — As smoke rose through the 19 stories of Twin Parks Northwest, hundreds of people did what they could to survive. They broke windows. They climbed down smoke-filled stairwells. Some were carried out by firefighters. Not all survived.

But for those who did, there is a long road ahead as they try to heal. 

Residents described their escape as hell to PIX11 News. 

“I can’t sleep. [I] keep thinking about the bodies that passed away, and the two bodies I saw in the stairwell and everything and the dead dog. That’s why I can’t sleep,” survivor Julius Castro said.

And Castro is likely not alone. Dr. Sumir Sahgal of Essen Health Care in the Bronx said surviving a fire like Sunday’s can cause real trauma. 

“Post-traumatic stress disorder is real. People will feel like that they’re on guard. They will have sleeping problems. They have anxiety,” he said,

Dr. Sahgal told PIX11 that healing both the mind and the body is important. Smoke inhalation can be very dangerous, he said, noting it can exacerbate underlining healthcare conditions like asthma and cardiovascular disease.

Essen Health Care has offered free mental and physical care to Twin Parks Northwest survivors. There are multiple locations throughout the Bronx, including an urgent care a few blocks from the building.

And Chaplain Jasan Scalzi has been working with victim’s families and survivors, hoping the power of prayer will help. 

“There is nothing that anybody can say to heal the broken hearted,” he said.

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