‘We Were Just Trying to Breathe,’ Says Man Who Survived Bronx Fire


Then, she raced to the building and got there in time to see her children jump out of a third floor window. They landed on a mattress and garbage bags that people had put there as a makeshift landing pad. Later, Ms. Campbell said she was grateful her children were unharmed.

“You can be here tomorrow with broken legs,” she said. “You can’t be here tomorrow with smoke inhalation.”

The Wague family stood on the corner of Tiebout Ave. and Folin St., huddled together, some of them under a blanket, after escaping their third floor apartment.

Mamadou Wague, the father, was woken up by one of his children on Sunday morning. “I get up, and there’s smoke in the kids’ rooms,” Mr. Wague, 47, said.

As the family rushed out of the apartment, one of Mr. Wague’s children cried that their sister, Nafisha, 8, was missing. Mr. Wague sprinted to her room and found his daughter sitting on her bed screaming as the fire engulfed her mattress, he said. He grabbed her and ran, later realizing his lips and nose were burned by the flames. “I didn’t think about anything except getting her out.”

Hame Wague, Mr. Wague’s 16-year-old son, described the terror the family faced as they escaped. “It was dark in the hallway. We were all coughing,” Hame Wague said.

Jose Soto smelled something burning as he was eating breaking at around 10:45 on Sunday. Mr. Soto, who lives on the ninth floor with his girlfriend and her three children, walked toward his door and heard a beeping noise along with muffled screams. He opened the door slightly, and smoke poured into the room.

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