Children had to be thrown out of their second-story window as flames engulfed their Bronx home just days before Christmas.
Firefighters sprayed water on the charcoaled house on Story Avenue in Castle Hill on Monday night, putting out the last pockets of fire that broke out earlier in the afternoon. They say the blaze started on the first floor before spreading quickly to the third, and the Salcedo family barely escaped with their lives.
“I open the door and I see dark black smoke," says homeowner Santos Marte Salcedo. He recalled yelling to his daughter and three young grandchildren ages 4 to 6 years old on the second floor to get out, but it was too dangerous for them to go through the front door.
They had no choice but to jump from the back window.
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"My daughter threw [the kids] out and we catch them downstairs, and then my daughter throw herself out and we catch her too because she’s light weight," Salcedo said.
One by one, everyone in the home escaped uninjured, except for the babysitter who hit her head when she landed on the ground. She was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. A firefighter was also injured because he was trapped inside and had to call for a mayday.
“We were able to operate in the rear and extinguish fire in the rear and we were able to get him through a portable ladder from the second floor rear," FDNY Chief Stephen Sullivan said.
The firefighter suffered minor burns but he's expected to recover, he added.
As for Salcedo, he says he's still in shock that his family just became homeless a week before Christmas. But he also knows if they hadn’t gotten out as quickly as they did, it could have been so much worse.
"Everybody would be dead now. But thank God we made it ok…and I think if I made it before, I think I gonna make it back," he said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Santos says he has no idea how it started, but he did say that they had a Christmas tree in the front room with all the smoke.