12-year-old Guyana fire survivor returns to NYC for special visit after recovering from burns

Crystal Cranmore Image
Friday, June 14, 2024
12-year-old Guyana fire survivor returns to NYC for special visit
Crystal Cranmore has the exclusive.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The memory cuts deeper than her wounds.

"I wish my friends were alive with me," said Moriza Williams. "I don't know who helped me. I fainted."

Twelve-year-old Moriza is one of the few people who narrowly escaped a fire that ripped through a girls' dormitory in Mahdia, Guyana killing 20 children in May 2023.

Moriza's burns were so severe that she was the only survivor transported thousands of miles away to Northwell Health on Staten Island.

Together we watched her painful arrival and triumphant discharge.

One year later, she's back in New York and spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News.

She has high hopes for a new season in her life.

She went to her first baseball game.

"This is us celebrating her journey, celebrating her bravery," said Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena, Northwell Health.

Northwell leadership brought the Williams family back to the city for a second time. This time, it was fully funded.

"She was in New York and didn't get to spend time in the city," Dr. Cioe-Pena said. "Wanted them to come back and take an exhale."

They wanted her to be able to do all the things a kid should do.

The hospital even honored Moriza and her journey, a difficult process for any parent to witness.

"Looking at her, I lost a couple of pounds not feeling well," said Max Williams, Moriza's father.

Moriza stopped attending school for a while due to the trauma and was afraid of being teased about the scars she kept covered with long sleeves.

She's taking online classes now and is determined to get back on track.

"I want to finish my school," Moriza said. "Try my best."

No one is more proud of her than her parents.

"I say because of God you're alive and you're going back to New York," said Waveney Williams, Moriza's mother.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More New York City news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.