Several survivors of the Bronx apartment building fire have spoken out to recall the time they thought they wouldn’t make it out alive.
On Sunday, at least 19 people, including nine children, were killed in a devastating fire that erupted in the 19-story apartment building at 333 East 181st Street in the Bronx, New York City.
Following the shocking ordeal and the worst fire in three decades, several surviving victims recalled the moment the fire had spread through the apartment building.
Among them was 32-year-old Michael Joseph who admitted to ignoring the fire alarm because it wasn’t uncommon for it to go off due to people smoking in the building.
“First we heard the fire alarm go off. Numerous times. But we didn’t think nothing of it, because normally people in the building, they smoke and tend to set it off,” Joseph, who lives on the 6th floor, told DailyMail.com.
“So we thought it was probably just people playing.”
Soon enough, however, he and his uncle realized just how bad the situation was.
“We looked out the window and we saw all the fire people.Firefighters, firefighters, firefighters,” Joseph added. “The smoke came through our door. Our whole house was jet black – smoke so thick we couldn’t breathe. We almost died in there.
With no way to suppress the smoke or protect themselves from inhaling the toxic fumes, Joseph and his uncle decided to attempt to flee the building only for the uncle to pass out.
“So I had to go through the staircase and all you see is people trampling over each other, people getting hurt, stomped on, all kind of things,” the 32-year-old added.
“It was flooded with water and smoke. And I finally got to the bottom and I sent them to get my uncle. That’s why he is alive now.”
Meanwhile, 10th-floor resident Chanasia Hunter recalled seeing the rescuers break windows on lower floors to get the people to safety.
“I looked out the back of the window and that’s where we see the fire just fighting outside the window, and they have to break open the windows to let people out,” she said.
“We heard screaming, we saw the windows bursting out. We saw people getting saved.”
Recalling the horrific scene was also 45-year-old Dana Campbell whose six children were left trapped in her apartment during the fire.
“They were trapped in a bedroom screaming for help out the window. I was on the sidewalk and I couldn’t help them. I was watching them screaming for help and I couldn’t help them,” the distressed mom told DailyMail.com.
As for Julia Fowler, a 9th-floor resident, she didn’t know what was going on until her relative told her there was a fire at her building.
“My sister got an alert from Citizen app, she told me it was a fire. When I looked on Citizen app it was behind my building, and that’s when I saw it,” she said.
“I heard people screaming ‘fire, fire’ – you know, my sister told me don’t go out. I was going to open the door, my sister told me not to. They told us to stay inside. We saw a lot of people run to the ambulance, rushing.”
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