NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Miguel Chan lost his wife in a fire two years ago in their Bensonhurst, Brooklyn home, and he lives to this day with memories of the horrifying experience of having to drop his two young children out of a window to safety as the blaze raged.
Chan is now fighting for justice as a man stands trial for allegedly setting the fire.
His wife, Luisa Chan, 34, died along with four others in the fire in the building on 86th Street in Brooklyn.
“She said, ‘Please, if you live, if you can live, don’t forget to love our kids!’” Miguel Chan said.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported Tuesday night, Miguel Chan, 42, is now a single father still living with the vivid memory of the night he had to toss his two young children out of his bedroom window to save them from a raging fire inside.
“I had to throw out the kids because no more choice — no exit, no stairs, no ladder, no nothing. No emergency exit,” he said.
Surveillance video captured the horrifying images of Chan’s daughter, 3 months old at the time, being thrown to the ground in a car seat. People below jumped down to help.
“‘Throw out the baby, we catch over here!’ they said,” Chan said. “I told my wife, ‘Somebody in the street, they’re waiting for our babies! So don’t cry! Don’t say nothing! Our babies are going to live, they’re going to live!’ I said to her.”
The drop was three stories. Meanwhile, Chan’s son was helped down by firefighters.
But his daughter suffered severe head trauma as a result of the fall, and now suffers from epilepsy.
“By myself, it’s hard,” he said.
For the past few days, Chan has been sitting through the trial of the accused arsonist. Daniel Ignacio, who was a guest of one of the tenants, was allegedly drunk when he started the fire on the first floor of the building.
Chan said he hopes Ignacio pays for the damage he has done.
“My wish — he stay forever there, in prison,” Chan said.
Also charged in connection with the blaze were the landlords for the building – father-and-son team Vasilios and Argyrios Gerazounis, who allegedly set up illegal partitions that blocked residents’ way out of the building.
Four men died in the fire in addition to Luisa Chan. Ignacio has claimed he never meant to ignite the fire.
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