Parents, boy die in Bronx fire

April 25, 2011 8:00:27 PM PDT
Fire officials say three people have died in a fire in a two-family house in the Bronx.

The FDNY identified the victims as a 36-year-old Juan Lopez, 12-year-old Christian Garcia and a 43-year-old Christina Garcia.

The two alarm fire took place after 3:30 a.m.

The blaze started in an apartment on Prospect Ave.

"We had heavy fire on the second and third floor," FDNY Deputy Chief James Leonard said. He said the fire started on the second floor and spread to the third floor.

Arson investigators have been cautiously going through the rubble, pulling out video equipment as evidence as they search for the cause of the deadly fire.

Firefighters were still knocking down several hot spots in the building where the victims were found. Residents who did escape say they had no warning.

Neighbors claim the victims were transient. They add the residents in the apartment where the people died were always on the move and there was no way to tell who was staying and who was going.

The building has been citied for numerous violations.

Just this month there was a complaint about the building being illegally converted into single rooms.

In November of 2009, the building was cited for not having a secondary exit, improper electrical wiring, illegal occupancy on the lower floors.

A month before, the building was once again cited for not having a secondary exit.

Firefighters arrived just minutes after receiving a call for help but the smoke and flames prevented any rescue.

Now residents of the damaged apartments are trying to figure out their next move. Their homes are ruined and they're trying to start over in the face of tragedy.

"When I smelled the smoke, I notified my family, we knocked on everyone's door and ran out," said one neighbor.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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