Bronx fire kills 5 J’cans now: “…Don’t know how to feel…what do I do?”

Jamaican News, January 6, 2018

Bronx, New York (Mckoy’s News)Bronx fire kills 5 Jamaicans: New York’s Deadliest fire in over a quarter of a century killed four children and eight adults in a Bronx apartment building last Thursday night. Five of the persons who perished in the fire is an entire Jamaican family living on the fifth floor of the Bronx building. Four of the family members died during the fire, while the patriarch of the family was admitted to hospital on life support, he passed away on Thursday.

Matriarch Karen Stewart-Francis, 37, her two daughters, Kylie Francis, 2 and 7-year-old Kelesha Francis, and a niece Shawntay Young, 19 who lived in a lower apartment were killed in the gust of fire and smoke on Thursday, December 28.

Shawntay Young who lived in a basement apartment of the same New York apartment building had just gone upstairs to her aunt and uncle and cousins to say hello, moments before she was trapped in billows of the blaze.

Bronx fire kills 5 Jamaicans: husband and father of the Francis family, Holt Francis, 27 who was battling for his life on life support in hospital, lost his battle one week later on Thursday, January 4, 2018, when he was taken off life support.

Deadly Bronx NY Fire, NYC Apartment Fire Victims

“I don’t know what to do and I don’t know how to feel,” Stewart-Francis’ mother Ambrozia Stewart told US newspaper, The Guardian. “what do I do?”

The Jamaican family was found huddled in the bathroom of their fifth-floor apartment, where they sought refuge.

This Bronx, New York apartment building was primary resident several of Karen Francis family members – another one of Karen’s niece who lives on the first floor with her son, just escaped death as she covered her 5-year-old son’s head with a hoodie and ran through the fire with him, managing to pull him and herself out through a fire escape. Karen Franicis’s nephew, Gawayne Blake, 32 who live on third floor also survived with his wife and son.

Carmaleta Halladene said she waited outside after she and her son escaped, for what seemed like forever to see her aunt and the rest of her family members join her on the sidewalk, but they never walked down.

Instead, she identified the rest of her family at a nearby hospital, dead.

Her uncle, Holt Francis was resuscitated three times in the hospital and placed on a machine to breathe.

Her sister, nineteen-year-old Shawntay Young had dreams of becoming a flight attendant. Halladene said her sister was a kid at heart, with a sweet soul.

Bronx fire kills 5 Jamaicans: the fire was started by a 3-year-old boy, in one of the first-floor apartments who was playing with the stove and caught the kitchen curtain on fire. His mother who was not attending to him grabbed him and his younger sibling, exiting the apartment, leaving the door wide open. The fire tunnelled up through the 5-story-apartment building and destroyed the apartments above it, killing now 13 persons.

Photo: Holt Francis was taken off life support Thursday. (

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