There were prayers and tears Sunday for the five people killed the day before in an apartment fire in Brooklyn. NY1's Erica Ferrari filed the following report.
On his knees in prayer, a husband wept Sunday for the loss of his wife, and mother of his two small children.
Luisa Ordoñez de Chan was one of five Guatemalan immigrants killed when flames engulfed their Bensonhurst building early Saturday morning.
At a church service Sunday, Miguel Chan held his little boy tightly. He says before getting overtaken by the flames and smoke, his wife shared her last words.
"I have to take care of my son and my daughter,” Chan said. “I promised I will do it."
But, before she took her last breath, Ordoñez de Chan managed to save her children’s lives. She strapped two-month-old Maria Maura in her car seat and tossed her out the window. In the chaos and confusion, a neighbor was unable to catch the baby; she suffered a fractured skull, but a local pastor says she s expected to be okay.
"The baby is in stable condition,” said Pastor Robert Eric Salgado. “She has a fracture on the right side, in the rear of the skull, but it’s stable. The brain has no permanent damage."
The couple’s two-year-old son Joasias also made it out alive.
Officials say as many as 20 immigrants were living in the two apartments. The crowded conditions were dangerous with no smoke detectors.
"They struggled a lot to come to this country,” said the pastor. “They had to go to so many frontiers to come over here. Sometimes they had to spend days without eating. And when they come over here, they just feel they are in a safe environment.”
Parishioners collected donations inside the church to send the bodies back to Guatemala for burial.
Chan says he will fulfill his wife’s dying wishes to care for their children and will rely on his faith to get him through.
"My heart is broke but my soul is happy,” he said. “I believe in God. I know this life on earth is short."
Fire officials think the fire was intentionally set because it started behind the front door of the apartment building.
Anyone with information about the fire is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, by texting TIP577 to CRIMES, or by going to NYPDCrimeStoppers.com.