This is so sad. A Bronx family has suffered the heartbreaking loss of at least three children to a deadly fire, as two others remain hospitalized.
According to NYPost reports:
Three little boys were killed in a raging apartment fire just blocks from Yankee Stadium Friday night — a tragedy that may have been sparked by candles the family lit after their power was shut off, authorities and neighbors said.
Elijah Artis, 5, Jeremiah Artis, 2, and little Michael Turner, 4 months, died after being rushed to Lincoln Hospital from the fast-moving Bronx blaze in the six-story building at 64 W. 165th Street, which started at about 8 p.m, authorities said.
“I heard the kids screaming for help,” said upstairs neighbor Christopher Rodriguez, 33.
“I saw the firemen bringing out one kid. He looked like he was already dead. It was the oldest boy. His body was just black.”
A 25-year-old woman, a 4-year-old girl and a 4-month-old girl were treated for smoke inhalation and were in stable condition, cops said.
Heartbroken neighbors identified the 25-year-old woman as Tashika Turner, and said she was the mother of the three boys and the two injured girls.
“I ran upstairs to the second floor and I saw Tashika. She had a toddler with her. She was screaming, ‘My children, my children!’ I couldn’t get in because the flames were so high,” said downstairs neighbor Katelcia Gillard, who called 911.
“They didn’t have electricity for the last couple of days. I heard there were candles burning,” said neighbor José Vasquez, who added that the utility workers who had turned off the power told him the family owed lots of money.
“Her power was turned off and the Red Cross came yesterday to help her. She refused to see them and she went to the corner store to buy candles,” said neighbor Charles Worth Ryan.“The owner made her promise not to use them at night.”
A worker at a nearby bodega said Tashika came in Friday evening and bought a 12-pack of ”Magic Light” candles for $1.19.
“I just saw the boys playing outside yesterday. They gave me a kiss and said, ‘Hey, Auntie Val,’ ” said Valerie Frazier, 47. “I walked by their door 10 minutes before the fire happened. I heard them playing. Now I’ll never hear them playing again.”
A ConEd rep couldn’t immediately confirm that the power had been shut off.
The NY Daily News credits neighbor William Sands for rescuing the two little girls.
Neighbors said they found Turner lying on the ground outside the apartment building as the fire raged.
“My babies are dead!” they heard the inconsolable Turner screaming.
Neighbor William Sands managed to scramble up the fire escape and pluck a young girl and 4-month-old Michelle Turner from the burning apartment, residents said.
Firefighters brought down little Michael — Michelle’s twin brother — and the other two boys, but doctors at Lincoln Medical Center were unable to save them.
“Those are my babies …” said Sands’ girlfriend, Keisha Smith, her cheeks stained with dried tears for the neighbor kids she adored.
“William tried to get more of the children out, but the flames were too much,” she said.
Just heartbreaking… Our thoughts and prayers are with the families from that building. That mother has lost a lot. We’re also definitely praying for the other survivors as well — losing lives is almost unbearable but losing a home is also devastating.
If what they’re saying is true, this fire could have been prevented had the power not been shut off. These fatalities may have been caused by poverty — and how do we end that for good?