“It’s going to kill everyone,” she said.
Mr Romero watched his wife carrying their unborn child, 19-year-old son Anthony, 7-year-old daughter Jlana, and called out soothing words. “We are here together. Everything will be fine for us. He said nothing about the fear that was rising in his mind.
Next door at 12N, 28-year-old Tatiana Strahn grabbed a sweater and held it to her mouth, then rushed out of her apartment. Her 2-year-old son, Owen, was three floors up at his aunt’s house, and nothing could stop her from chasing him. Not so long ago, she had lost two members of her family in a fire in the Dominican Republic.
Her eyes stinging from the smoke, Mrs. Strahn reached for the walls of the staircase to guide her through the darkness. On the 15th floor, she passed a boy of about 8 or 9 years old who was going downstairs. “What are you doing here?” she screamed. ” Where is your mother ? Enter an apartment, exit the stairs!
His eyes were wide and confused. “She’s going down,” he said, then turned and rushed back up.
In the hallway, Mrs. Strahn called her aunt: “Maria! A door flew open. His aunt rushed over carrying Owen, her face pressed against his neck. The three descended the stairs.
Back home, Ms. Strahn began to panic. The smoke was billowing in, and now she had to take care of six people. Aunt Maria who suffered from anxiety. Owen and his 4-year-old daughter, Leilani. The children’s father, Efrain Sifuentes, on his usual weekend visit, who had a broken leg and was on crutches.
Charely, her older sister from Connecticut, was also there, having surprised her over the weekend to tell her she was pregnant. She had brought her 11-year-old daughter, Yoriely. And then there were the two golden retrievers.
Ms Strahn ordered everyone into the least smoky bedroom while she wedged blankets at the entrance to their duplex and attempted to seal the edges of the door with duct tape. Mr. Sifuentes filled pots of water to douse the area, hobbling back and forth from the sink.