Community gathers for vigil honoring victims of deadly Bronx fire

Posted: Updated:
THE BRONX -

A Bronx community is in mourning following the apartment building blaze that claimed the lives of 12 people.

Community members gathered Friday night near the scene of the fire on Prospect Avenue in the Bronx's Belmont neighborhood. The pain was palpable as loved ones gathered to light candles and say prayers for the victims.

As News 12 has reported, investigators say a toddler playing with a stove was the cause of the fire. The child's mother grabbed the boy and his sibling and fled, but she left their apartment door open, allowing the flames to rapidly spread to the rest of the building.

Two families lost multiple members in the fire.

Some of those who perished have been identified as family members Karen Francis, 37; Shantay Young, 19; and Kylie and Charmela Francis, ages 2 and 7. Grandmother Maria Batiz and her 8-month-old granddaughter also died in the blaze.

Loved ones say they're still in shock over the sudden loss.

Donations were being collected Saturday for those affected by the fire. But by Saturday afternoon, city officials say donation sites were filled to capacity.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."