Trapped In The Bronx Fire, Grandmother With Baby Makes A Final Phone Call
On Thursday night, Christine Batiz, 26, received a devastating call.
Her mother, Maria Batiz, called to tell her that their apartment building in the Bronx borough of New York City had caught on fire while she was watching Christine’s baby daughter.
The two were trapped, she said.
“I never heard from her again,” Christine Batiz, 26, wrote in a GoFundMe page created Friday night.
“I lost everything in a matter of minutes,” she added. “One thing you know, my daughter is playing with her new toys, the next hour they are gone from my life.”
Maria Batiz, 58, and 8-month-old Amora Vidal died Thursday night in a massive fire that engulfed the five-story building, according to The New York Times and the New York Daily News. They were among the 12 victims who were trapped in the building.
It was the deadliest fire to hit the area in about 25 years.
On her GoFundMe page, Christine Batiz said she was at work while her mother took care of her daughter at home. It wasn’t until around 1 a.m. that she learned they had both died.
“I heard the news I never thought I would hear,” Christine Batiz wrote. “I lost my angel baby and my best friend; my mother.”
HuffPost’s attempts to reach Batiz were not returned.
Maria Batiz’s brother, Fernando, told the New York Daily News about the horrific phone call she made to her daughter as the fire grew near.
“We’re going to die in here!” the grandmother told Christine Batiz, according to Fernando.
“My niece was telling her, ‘Get out! What are you doing?’” he told the Daily News. “I guess (Maria) was hysterical, and she got trapped. She was scared.”
“She was frantic,” he added. “I guess the smoke overcame her.”
Fernando Batiz described Maria as a selfless person who worked as a home care attendant, according to New York’s Pix 11 News.
A 3-year-old boy who was known to play with burners on the stove sparked the fire on the first floor of the building just before 7 p.m. Thursday, according to fire officials.
The 25-unit apartment building had at least six outstanding city code violations, including one for a broken smoke detector in an apartment on the first floor, Reuters reported.
Xanral Collins, who witnessed the fire, told the New York Post he saw a man run into the building yelling for his children. “He couldn’t get in,” Collins told the Post. “I saw him screaming, ‘My babies are dead! My babies are dead!’”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the fire “the worst fire tragedy in at least a quarter of a century.” More than 160 firefighters worked in the bitter cold for more than four hours to put out the flames.
Christine Batiz launched a GoFundMe page to help with funeral costs for her mother and daughter with a goal of $25,000 on Friday. As of 10:44 p.m. Eastern time, she was less than $5,000 from her goal.
“I appreciate all the support and help I have been given,” Batiz wrote. “This is a horrible tragedy and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”