National News

Man and Teenage Daughter Die in Another Fire in the Bronx

Posted January 14, 2018 9:53 p.m. EST
Updated January 14, 2018 9:54 p.m. EST

NEW YORK — A man and his teenage daughter were killed by a fire on Sunday in a public housing complex in the Bronx, the police said. It was the latest in a series of devastating fires in New York City.

The victims, Nelson Rojas, 62, and his daughter, Yolanda, 13, died after the fire broke out in the Throgs Neck Houses, the police said.

Firefighters and police officers responding to a 911 call at 12:13 p.m. went to the building at 2821 Dewey Ave., where they found Rojas and his daughter inside a fourth-floor apartment. Both were taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where they were pronounced dead.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation on Sunday, the police said. The medical examiner will determine the cause and manner of their deaths, the police said.

Evelyn Lopez, who lives next door, said Rojas was a Dominican immigrant who had lived in apartment 4B with his daughter for about five years. She saw them every weekday morning, the last time on Friday, when Rojas walked Yolanda to school at Middle School 101, where she was in the seventh or eighth grade.

“We always talked about how we were doing,” she said. “I’m in shock right now.”

The fire was contained to one apartment, the police said. The building is part of a complex that was completed in 1953, with an addition in 1971, according to the New York City Housing Authority.

The agency said in a statement that it was “devastated” by the deaths and will “work closely with FDNY throughout their investigation.”

More than a dozen people have died and scores more have been injured and displaced in fires in the city in recent months. Thirteen people, including five children, died when a December fire that was caused by a 3-year-old boy playing with a stove ripped through a Prospect Avenue building in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx.

Also in December, a fire lit by an oil-burning Menorah claimed a mother and three of her children during Hanukkah in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.

In November, nine people, including seven firefighters, suffered minor injuries, and three dozen families were displaced in a fire in Hamilton Heights, Manhattan. And last Monday in neighboring Washington Heights, 17 people were injured in a fire that was sparked by a toaster.

The Belmont fire killed five members of one family with roots in Jamaica, a woman who came from Puerto Rico and her 7-month-old granddaughter, as well as six immigrants from Ghana.

The victims from Ghana, including a 28-year-old soldier in the New York Army National Guard, were remembered at a vigil on Saturday.