CBS2’s Tara Jakeway spoke with a family member of two of the victims.READ MORE: Suicide Prevention Walks Taking Place Across US This Weekend
Peta Rose Tom lost her mother when an intense fire ripped through her sixth-floor apartment.
“At first, we didn’t know that my sister was there with her. But when my son came, that’s when we found out that my sister was there with her,” Tom said Wednesday.
Her younger sister was visiting their mother at the Grand Concourse building when the fire started in an adjacent apartment at around 7:30 p.m. and quickly enveloped the floor.
“Apparently, they found them in the bathroom,” Tom said.
While 140 firefighters battled the inferno, some reached Tom’s two loved ones, but it was too late.
“I’m still in shock. I’m still in shock,” Tom said.READ MORE: Peter Scolari Of 'Newhart,' 'Bosom Buddies,' Dies At 66
Two other women, ages 42 and 92, died in that same apartment. In the unit next door where the blaze started, a mother and daughter escaped unharmed. Ayanna Leslie lives directly below.
“I was having dinner, me and my daughter, and I just hear banging on my door: ‘Get out! Get out! Fire!'” Leslie said.
She ran to her son’s room where the 20-year-old was asleep, woke him up, and ran down the stairs with both of her kids safely on each arm, kids that grew up with one of the victims, Jakeway reported.
She had a heart of gold. That lady was … she’s one in a million,” Leslie said.
And while construction crews brought in plywood to board up two of the 33 units, behind a mask Tom tried to navigate her next step. It’s more complicated now because of the coinciding pandemic.
“I gotta go to the hospital now, because we are trying to identify the bodies and they wont let us, I guess because of the COVID,” Tom said.MORE NEWS: Man Rescued After Falling On LIRR Tracks At Penn Station
Fire marshals are eyeing a space heater as the cause of the fire. While the blaze is still under investigation, they are not considering the incident to be suspicious.