NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A fire in Washington Heights cost a little boy his life, leaving his grandmother, 54, hospitalized in critical condition.
Neighbors told CBS2’s Thalia Perez that the victim was the building superman’s son, 7-year-old Robert Resto.
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“It’s a nightmare. It’s really like something that all parents fear,” said neighbor Beatriz Ureña.
The fire started in the basement apartment of a six-story complex on West 178th Street near Broadway around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Ministry of Building regards the room as an “illegally converted basement apartment.”
Video shows the block was shrouded in smoke when fire trucks arrived, CBS2’s Christina Fan reported.
They say that when they arrived, the 7-year-old was found in the basement with severe body trauma and could not be rescued.
Confused families running out with their children, covered in blankets, were crushed to learn that a child lost his life.
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“We just heard fire trucks coming, and then it was like one, and then it was like, it reached around the corner to the front of my building. You could just smell, almost like a short circuit of combustion,” said one woman. .
Three of the boy’s family members and a firefighter were slightly injured.
It took nearly two hours and more than 70 firefighters to get the fire under control. It was contained to the rear basement apartment.
Julio Mejia lives on the second floor and is crushed. He says he and his wife were close to the family, who are from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
“To me, it was like he was my grandson,” he said in Spanish.
Firefighters have determined that the fire was accidental and caused by electrical wires and an overloaded busbar. Officials also say there was a fire alarm in operation in the apartment, but it was not enough to get everyone out on time.
Firefighters say they arrived within five minutes of receiving the 911 call.
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CBS2’s Thalia Perez contributed to this report. Editor’s Note: This story was first published on October 30th.