Family tells harrowing tale of escape from deadly Bronx tower fire


Survival got here with a harrowing leap of religion for six youngsters who lived subsequent door to the house the place one of the deadliest blazes in New York City historical past broke out.

The household recounted to The Post their dramatic escape from their third-floor house at 333 E. 181st St. in The Bronx as smoke from an area heater fire flooded the constructing and finally killed 17 individuals, together with eight kids.

“The walls were bubbling, smoke and water started coming in, and so my son broke out the window and everybody got out of there,” stated an emotional Nikki Campbell, 45, the mom of six, together with the 5 teenagers ages 14-19.

“The worst part was watching my children screaming in the window, and I’m on the sidewalk and I can’t help them.”

Campbell was at work on the Parks Department when she obtained the determined name from her trapped kids concerning the fire down the corridor.

The teenagers additionally phoned their oldest brother, 28-year-old Marqui, who was operating errands. He rushed to the scene — and saved his household.

Campbell described how Marqui inspired two of his siblings to climb out a window on the decrease degree of their duplex house — which spanned the second and third flooring — after which cling to the decrease ledge.

The subsequent step — let go and hopefully land in his open arms.

Nikki Campbell watched in vain as her six teenagers tried to escape the five-alarm Bronx fire next door at 333 E. 181st Street.
Nikki Campbell was working when her kids have been caught within the Bronx fire.
Brigette Stelzer
Marqui Campbell, 28, caught his siblings and their friends as they jumped out of the burning Bronx building at 333 East 181st Street on Sunday.
Marqui Campbell stood on rubbish luggage whereas convincing his siblings to leap out of their house’s window to escape the fire.
Courtesy of Nikki Campbell

“My son stood at the bottom and the other kids jumped down and he caught them,” Campbell recounted.

“Marqui stood on some garbage bags and a mattress that were on the ground under my window,” she recounted, estimating the children have been 10 ft up earlier than they jumped. “There’s an area under my window where they store garbage overnight — Marqui stood on top of it.”

Noel, 16, and Judge, 14, jumped into their huge brother’s arms. It was Judge’s party sleepover on Saturday night time, so 4 of his associates who had stayed over have been additionally rescued by Marqui’s regular arms.

Marqui Campbell, 28, caught his siblings and their friends as they jumped out of the burning Bronx building at 333 East 181st Street on Sunday.
Marqui Campbell inspired his siblings and their associates associates to leap down 10 ft so he may catch them from the house window, in response to his mom Nikki.
Courtesy of Nikki Campbell

Soon after, firefighters arrived with their ladder and rescued Campbells remaining trapped children — Jamari, 19, Kanji, 17, and Taliya, 18.

The dramatic tale of survival got here as Mayor Eric Adams revealed that big-hearted New Yorkers have donated greater than $700,000 to a reduction fund arrange by his workplace to assist the victims of the tragedy.

He additionally stated metropolis officers would “dig in” on rampant complaints concerning the self-closing doorways not functioning correctly within the tower — a failure that Fire Commissioner Dan Nigro stated allowed deadly smoke to rapidly fill the 19-story constructing.

View of the devastated building and apartments where deadly fire caused by malfunctioned space heater claimed 17 lives including 8 children in the Bronx.
The Bronx house constructing at 333 E. 181st Street beforehand acquired quite a few upkeep complaints earlier than the deadly blaze.
Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Shutterstock

The Post revealed Thursday that the town’s Housing Authority had documented squalid circumstances at in a number of residences within the constructing, affirming widespread complaints of neglect and mismanagement from tenants within the aftermath of Sunday’s blaze.

“There’s a lot landlords must learn. We are going to dig into and do those inspections and hotlines if the door’s not closing automatically,” Hizzoner advised reporters at an unrelated press convention in Queens.

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