Among the 12 confirmed fatalities of the deadly Thursday night fire at 2363 Prospect Avenue in Belmont, Bronx NY, are Karen Stewart-Francis, 37; her children Kylie Francis, 2, and Kelly Francis, 7; and Shawntay Young, 19, their cousin.
Reports from the authorities is that the fire was caused by a 3-year-old boy who was playing with the knobs on the stove. The boy who screamed when the fire began, sent his mother rushing into the kitchen as it filled with smoke and flames. She ran out of the apartment with the boy and a 2-year-old child, but left the door open, allowing fire to shoot out of the kitchen and into the stairwell, according to Daniel A. Nigro, the city fire commissioner.
Fire travels up…the stairway acted like a chimney. – Mr. Nigro
The fire that started before 7:00pm was quickly brough under control by the more than 160 firefighters who responded to the 5-alarm blaze about three minutes after the first 911 calls were made.
According to Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Nigro, this fire represents the city’s deadliest in more than a quarter-century and made December the deadliest month for fires in New York City in a decade.
This will rank as one of the worst losses of life to a fire in many, many years. – Mayor de Blasio
The visibly distraught Ambrozia Stewart, mother of Karen Stewart-Francis was seen standing, according to the New York Times, on the corner of East 187th Street and Prospect Avenue, weeping into the frigid air.
I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to feel. I need somebody to tell me what to feel.- Ms. Stewart
The Stewarts family consisted of 13 people living on various floors in the apartment. Mrs. Stewart-Francis, her husband, Holt Francis, who was last reported to be in a coma at Jacobi Medical Center and their two children had moved to their fifth-floor apartment from Manhattan about a year ago.
The family had just returned from visiting Jamaica last week.