Queens family out of hospital after fire

February 2, 2009 4:34:36 PM PST
It was nearly a week ago that a fire ripped through an apartment in Queens, nearly killing five members of one family who were trapped inside, surrounded by flames and thick smoke. Firefighters managed to rescue them, with not a moment to spare. Four of them were found unconcious, and one was in cardiac arrest.

But amazingly, they all survived.

Carlos Montero, his two little boys and their mother all say it's a miracle that they're alive. One week ago, all of them nearly breathed their last after a smoky fire trapped them inside their third-story apartment in Corona.

"I'm lucky," Carlos Montero said. "I was like dying in there. My family was dying. People were saying jump, but I never jumped. I was in the window trying to help my family."

Veronica Zamora's frantic 911 call alerted firefighters of the brewing disaster. Rescuers found her unconscious shortly after she made the call.

"One of the kids was on the floor and the mother and that child were huddled up," the FDNY's Mike Czech said last Tuesday. "The second child was on the bed right next to them, pretty much all in the same area."

After several days in the hospital, 9-year-old Carlos Jr., 5-year-old Dylan and their parents are all fine. A shelter in Harlem will serve as their temporary home. And while their apartment in Corona is now an empty shell, their hearts are full of gratitude for the firefighters who saved their lives.

"I really want to thank them because they came really quick to save my children," Veronica Zamora said.

Carlos Montero will try to get his family's lives back on track Tuesday. The boys will return to school, mom and dad will return to their jobs in the Garment District and, while they lost everything, they still have what is most important...each other.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


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