Cancer patient who escaped Bronx fire says it was like winning ‘the lottery of life’
Devastating fire in Bronx apartment building left 19 dead Sunday morning and more than 60 injured
Image: via REUTERS)
A terminally ill cancer patient said heroic city firefighters saved him from certain death and compared his narrow escape to winning the “lottery of life.”
A devastating fire in a building in the Bronx left 19 dead Sunday morning and more than 60 injured.
About 200 firefighters rushed to the scene, which was New York’s worst fire in 30 years.
Among the dead were nine children, including a four-year-old.
Poignant photos show a firefighter cradling a rescued baby, victims on stretchers and a soot-covered woman being treated by paramedics as she sat on the floor.
Crews were also pictured bravely climbing ladders as flames rose above them in the 120-unit building.
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The New York Post reports that a happy survivor, Joseph Brannigan, 61, was in his apartment on the fifth floor of the West Bronx apartment building with his nephew, Michael Joseph, when smoke began to flood the house shortly before 11 time.
He said, âMy nephew said, ‘Joey, we have to go down the stairs, and I said,’ We can’t. There is too much smoke in the hallway.
âHe said, ‘Come on, we’re going to die here.’
âAs we were trying to get out of the apartment, he grabbed my hand. I lost her hand and said, ‘Where are you?’ I collapsed on the floor in my hallway.
The resident said he likely would have died had it not been for the rescuing firefighters.
He added, âWe won the lottery of life, the big jackpot. We lost everything in the fire. We have lost everything. [But] we are the richest people in the world because we won the lottery of life today.
The outlet reports that Brannigan is a retired nurse with terminal bladder cancer and her nephew is helping him take care of him while he battles the disease.
Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Adams called hell “a horrible, horrible and painful moment for New York City”.
He said at a press conference: “The impact of this fire is really going to bring a level of pain and desperation to this city.”
Officials said the fire was started by a faulty radiator in an apartment that spanned the second and third floors of the building.
The smoke spread to all floors of the building, possibly because the apartment door was left open, city fire commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters at a press briefing .
He said: “Members found victims on every floor in the stairwells and brought them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest.”
He added that the heating had been turned on in the building and that the portable heater supplemented this heating.