A mammoth fire that broke out last Friday in the Allerton neighborhood killed one person and injured four others, according to officials.
The NYPD confirmed that Lester Marquez Ortiz, 48, succumbed to his injuries over the weekend. Three more people suffered “serious, life threatening” injuries, according to an FDNY spokesperson, and a fifth person suffered minor injuries.
According to fire officials, the call came in at 6:16 a.m. on Nov. 17 as the three-alarm fire started on the top floor of the 2309 Holland Ave. six-story apartment building.
Tenant Cynthia Aikens told the Bronx Times that she lost everything in the fire — after trying in vain to help rescue a neighbor.
“The smoke was black, to the point I couldn’t breathe,” she said.
Fire chiefs Mark Bonilla and John Sarrocco said in a press conference at the scene last Friday morning they believe the fire originated in apartment 6A and spread to the area between the roof of the building and top floor ceiling.
Approximately 138 firefighters responded to the scene and the roof had to be cut open to ventilate the building, according to the fire chiefs.
All victims were found on the sixth floor. The critically injured victim was located in the apartment unit where the fire is believed to have originated.
The blaze was under control by 7:43 a.m., according to fire officials.
“No roof, no windows, no bed, nothing. Everything is gone. Medicine…” Aikens trailed off before adding, “I just thank God that I got my life.”
American Red Cross employees were on site to assist displaced residents. An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.
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