Wilcox Avenue fire tears families apart

1114 Wilcox Avenue bears the scars of this Monday evening’s fire which has left its two families scattered.
Community News Group / Robert Wirsing

Two Throggs Neck families are looking for help piecing together their shattered lives after a fire tore through their childhood home this week.

On the evening of Monday, May 4 around 6:30 p.m., Theresa Manno entered her 1114 Wilcox Avenue 1-family home’s kitchen after returning from work.

Immediately, her children bolted down from the second floor stairs telling her they smelt smoke, which she saw coming from the second floor.

Without hesitation, Manno gathered her children, contacted the FDNY and her niece, Lisa Porrazzo, who also resides in the house with her three sons,but wa not home and fled.

Upon their departure, Manno and her children turned and to their horror their home’s top floor was engulfed in flames.

FDNY trucks arrived within seconds of Manno’s call.

Porrazzo soon arrived with her sons who she picked up from school after she completed grocery shopping for the evening.

No one was home all day and Manno believes the fire may have started only 10 minutes prior to her return home from work.

Firefighters broke the 2nd and 3rd floor windows and were successful in preventing the fire from spreading any further.

No one was harmed, but both families lost many of their possessions and their pets ran away, but were found safe and sound.

“It was absolutely horrible seeing this unfold in front of us,” Manno expressed. “We all grew up in that house which my grandfather built and we’ve lost almost everything we own. This is very bad, but it could’ve been much worse.”

She added the first floor is fine despite some flooding, however the second floor is completely trashed.

Porrazzo’s apartment on the third floor is charred and reeks of smoke.

The cause of this fire is still undetermined, however Porrazzo and Manno suspect old wiring may be to blame.

Both families are waiting for their insurance company to determine if the house can be rebuilt and remain hopeful it well.

“We’re all scattered between three houses now,” Porrazzo said. “I haven’t slept or ate since this has happened and my son, Justin has lost everything he owns. He didn’t even have any shoes until I bought him new ones yesterday.”

Justin, 6, suffers from chronic asthma as well as eosinophilic esophagitis and requires a nebulizer to administer his medication.

Unfortunately, Justin’s nebulizer must be replaced after being contaminated by smoke and due to an allergic reaction, he cannot wear any of his unscathed clothes or play with his toys which were left behind.

To add insult to injury, she was informed insurance will not cover Justin’s nebulizer and his EpiPen.

According to Porrazzo and Manno, looters crept into their home after the blaze was extinguished and stole three TVs, video games, toys, Joseph Manno’s wrestling belt, jewelry, and Porrazo’s late husband’s tools and other possessions.

All of these items have since been recovered.

Recently, community members established online fundraisers aimed in aiding these families during this extremely trying time.

A GoFundMe donation page supporting Porrazzo and her sons can be found at www.gofundme.com/tsj2s8.

A GoFundMe page aiding the Manno family can be found at www.gofundme.com/tse62c8.

“We want to thank everyone for all of their generosity and support during this time,” Joseph Manno, Theresa’s son, said. “We’re sticking together and trying our best to stay positive despite all this. We lost a lot of our possessions, but those can always be replaced, a life can’t.”

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