Fire Claims 6 lives, Including 4 Children At Frederick E. Samuel Houses In Harlem

By Ted Shaffrey

Six family members, including four children, were killed early Wednesday when a fire that apparently started on a stove ravaged a Harlem apartment, authorities said.

Firefighters, who were called at about 1:40 a.m., pushed quickly and aggressively into the flames and thick smoke and found a man and a woman, as well as two girls and two boys ages 3 to 11, in bedrooms of the fifth-floor apartment, according to Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. They were pronounced dead by emergency medical technicians.

“We’re in the lifesaving business and we take this very personally when we’re unable to save this family,” Nigro said at a briefing hours later.

“It’s horrible to look at, and as a father just thinking … that yesterday evening four children went to bed and they’re gone now is very, very painful,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The head of the New York City Housing Authority, Kathryn Garcia, said a battery-operated smoke detector in the apartment had been tested in January at the Frederick E. Samuel Houses.

“I was trapped in my building, in my apartment until the fire department came and got me out,” a resident, Patricia Flowers, told The Associated Press hours after the fire. “I have a mom, and I didn’t know what to do to get her out. … So it was very frightening.”

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“I woke up in the middle of the night after hearing the fire truck and I could see the fire and it was so hot, even from across here it was so hot,” said Deborah Belton, who lives across the street.

“As the fire was burning I was hearing one of the little girls screaming,” fourth-floor resident Eric Allen told the New York Post. “They were beautiful kids.”

Abdul Salaam, 25, told the Post that he saw the flames from the street and called 911.

“I heard glass breaking, kids yelling,” said Salaam. “They were clearly in fear for their lives.”

“There was so much smoke you couldn’t even see,” Geraldo Morales told the Post. “The smoke — I got asthma — so it was like I was getting suffocated.”

Via API

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