A hero mother rescued her two children from a Brooklyn inferno yesterday before being overtaken by the blaze that authorities have described as suspicous, her husband said Sunday.
Take care of the kids," his beloved bride, Luisa, said before disappearing forever into the raging fire and black smoke engulfing their third-floor Bensonhurst home, Miguel Chan, 38, told the Daily News.
The fire engulfed the building housing Guatemalan immigrants on Saturday, collapsing part of the roof, trapping residents and killing five people.
A memorial is being held Sunday night for the victims. The service will be at Jovenes Cristianos Evangelical Church on 17th Avenue at 6 p.m. The family of Luisa Ordonez Chan worshiped at the church.
Four people in the building were injured, including an infant who was tossed out the window by a woman frantically trying to save them. The infant was in critical condition with a fractured skull after bystanders below failed to catch him, officials and witnesses said. The other child landed on an awning.
On Sunday, doctors said the infant was showing normal brain functions.
At least one adult was hospitalized, and thirteen firefighters were injured, none of them seriously, officials said. The cause of the fire inBensonhurst, home to a diverse population of Russians, Hispanics and Chinese, was being investigated.
Chan and his wife were sleeping in their bed with son Josias, 2, and 2-month-old daughter Maria when the fire erupted. They scrambled to the window to save their children, handing them off to firefighters below. In the chaos, Luisa was unable to escape the blaze.
The fire started around 2:30 a.m. and soon engulfed the three-story building on a busy commercial strip, consuming a ground-floor Japanese restaurant and two apartments on the upper floors.
The stairwell between the floors collapsed, as well as part of the roof, trapping residents, according to fire officials. The blaze was under investigation. Most of the building's residents were from Guatemala, neighbor Juan Gabriel told The New York Times.
As the fire raged, a woman held a baby boy out a third-floor window. Bars covered the lower half of the window, keeping the woman from climbing out, Gabriel said.
"She was screaming, 'Help me, help me,'" Gabriel said. Moments later, she threw the infant out the window to Gabriel and two other men.
In the darkness, the child fell to the ground, authorities said. She then tossed another child out the window. He landed on the awning below.