Two people in their 70s and a boy died Monday morning in a three-alarm fire in the Soundview section of the Bronx. NY1's Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
A powerful fire ripped through a home in the Bronx, killing three people early in the morning on New Year's Eve.
"I woke up, I heard screaming," said neighbor Lenore Westberry. "I seen fire, I seen smoke."
"It was just a fire everywhere and smoking," said neighbor Judidh Tibala.
The New York City Fire Department said the first 911 caller gave the wrong address, delaying the department's response time.
"They were trapped inside because the fire was in the front door, the stairway, so they have to jump through the window," said neighbor Aaron Dinukar.
A 48-year-old woman broke her ankle jumping from the second floor. By the time the first fire trucks arrived, just before 6 a.m., the flames were raging.
"There was so much fire, it took a while before we could get into the fire building," said Assistant Chief Ron Spadafora of the FDNY.
Nearly 150 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which went through all three stories.
"With the amount of fire and the collapse of the roof into the top floor, that certainly hindered our operations," said Spadafora.
A 15-year-old girl and 73-year-old woman were rescued and transported to the hospital in stable condition, but firefighters found three bodies in the charred remains of the multiple-family building: Annetta Issac, 71, on the second floor, and John Debro, 73 and Jahvonte Smith, 12, in the third-floor apartment.
"Beautiful child," said neighbor Milagros Gutierrez. "Beautiful smile, personality, everything about him. He always played with my toddlers. I have babies. He's a great kid. Would just knock on my window just to say hello."
Some of the devastated neighbors have also been displaced. The Red Cross estimated that the fire pushed almost three dozen people out of their homes before dawn on the last day of the year.
"Obviously, it's a very cold day, so that the first thing we did was order a bus so that the clients would have a place to stay where they were warm," said Lana Mullen of the Red Cross.
"Hopefully stay with some friends for awhile, and that's it," Tibala said. "Stay with some friends. Thank God I have close friends here."
Those who escaped with their lives said they were heartbroken.
"It's a holiday, it's New Year's Eve and it's very sad, very sad," Westberry said. "My heart is hurting. It's so sad, just very sad."