Woman dies in Yonkers apartment building fire

An 86-year-old woman, who was in a wheelchair, and her 68-year-old son were trapped inside and had to be carried down from the fourth floor of the burning building.

Jan 20, 2023, 1:17 PM

Updated 488 days ago

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A mother died in a Yonkers fire Thursday night that also displaced dozens of people. Fire officials said that her son is still alive, but not breathing on his own.
Fire officials said flames broke out around 4:20 p.m. and thick smoke quickly filled the building on Mulberry Street.
An 86-year-old woman, who was in a wheelchair, and her 68-year-old son were trapped inside and had to be carried down from the fourth floor of the burning building.
"It's four stories, the narrow hallway, the lady was wheelchair-bound, so it was a pretty amazing feat that they were able to get the people out," said Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Citrone. Crews immediately administered CPR, and the victims were taken to separate hospitals. Despite the heroic efforts by firefighters, the mother died overnight.
Officials on scene said they had to call for additional personnel to handle the fire, which was especially intense on the top floor, and eventually the roof collapsed.
Nine firefighters had to be taken to the emergency room with injuries not considered life-threatening.
Fire officials said nine families are now homeless, staying with friends and family, or in temporary housing supplied by the Red Cross.
Many tenants said the woman who died was the light of the neighborhood.
“It’s just sad and unfortunate because she’s been here a long time,” said Jennifer Bullock, a friend of the woman who died in the fire.
Bullock helped friends on Friday salvage belongings from the fire-ravaged apartment building. She was also mourning her friend, 86-year-old Mittie Rice, from the fourth floor. Bullock said Rice was full of love and made people around her feel great.
“She used to tell me all the time, 'I watch you all the time. I see you with your kids. You always have your kids looking nice.' She always had encouraging words to me,” Bullock said.
Bullock's family said Rice and her son, who lived with her, were burned and then rescued during the fire.
The building's landlord told News 12 he is upset for the nearly 40 people who lived in the building. Losing Rice has also hit him hard and said he knew her for about 10 years and called her "a sweetheart."
“She was the grandma of the block,” said her friend, Jacob Mata, who added that he will miss seeing her exercising and hanging out on the block.
“Always well-hearted, always going to church and stuff. You’ll see her every Sunday outside, early morning and at 2 o’clock when she used to come and stuff," Mata added.
News 12 was told the building will likely be condemned, but families who lived on the bottom floors may be able to retrieve belongings at some point.
The cause of the fire, which firefighters said the fire started in Rice’s apartment, had not been released as of Friday night.


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