Survivor recounts moments of Bronx fire

February 16, 2010 1:18:17 PM PST
There were some daring escapes Monday in the Bronx when a fire ripped through an apartment building.Andre Dixson tossed charred clothes and drenched blankets aside, trying to find necessities Tuesday morning to get his family and friends through this disaster.

"Everything's (explitive) gone, but thank God I have life," Dixson said.

Andre says material things mean absolutely nothing after he saw his life flash before his eyes Monday afternoon.

It felt so hopeless that Andre's friend jumped from the apartment's fourth-floor window, and his cousin dangled a 7-month-old baby from a window.

Andre made it clear why she made that dangerous decision.

"Nobody ever said they was throwing a baby out of the window," he said. "That's why she put the baby out of the window, so the baby don't inhale no smoke. That's why the baby is perfectly safe and healthy now."

Firefighters say a child playing with matches in a closet started the fire. The inferno spread to the hallway and trapped everyone inside the apartment.

In total, nine family members and friends were hurt in the blaze, at the Pelham Parkway Houses.

"There was no way out," Dixson said. "Our only way out was this window...We were all bunched up against these windows...This is the window where I almost lost my finger. This is the window I tried to climb out of, hoping I didn't have to jump."

Before it was too late for those still trapped inside, firefighters hoisted a ladder and rescued everyone. The baby and seven adults and children suffered only minor injuries.

The man who jumped was more seriously hurt.

No charges are expected in this case. Firefighters will work with the child to make sure that he or she understands the dangers of playing with matches.