The horrific Bronx blaze that claimed the lives of 13 people was started on Dec. 28 by a 3-year-old child who was playing with kitchen stove. And now, 11 of the people who once resided in that building on Prospect Ave. have announced plans to sue the city and several departments. they are seeking $110 million because, for many reasons, this tragedy did not have to happen.
According to court documents, the Administration for Child Services (ACS) should have removed the toddler from his mother’s custody because they were already aware of her history of neglect where the children were concerned. She was reportedly in the shower when the fire started. Had the ACS done their job, the child would never have been able to cause so much damage.
“The mother of said child was a person known to the authorities and to the Administration fro Child services Department for not watching and taking care of her child,” the group alleges.
Blessings to the Francis/Young family whose life was forever changed due to #bronxfire 12/28/17. #Five #caskets #fiveloved ones gone. I didn’t cover the service last night because I wound up moderating it. #Godprovides (not big on #religion but I’m definitely big on #spirituality; #TheMostHigh is real). There was #prayer #song #wordsofacknowledgement #cries #collapsing #hugs #holding. All part of a #humanresponse to #devastating #loss. Shout out to all the #community that came out to stand with family including #fatherjonathanmorris #advocate @styledbymiracle @shanequa_charles #helpfrorbronxblaze and so many others (this family and all the #families are gonna need support for time to come and there are many great #hands #efforts galvanizing). #spreadlove #liftthemup (the Francis/Young #direct #gofundme is: Francis/Young Bronx Fire Mem. Fund #FrancisYoungFireFund)
The attorney representing the group of victims, Robert Vilensky, filed the complaint based on statements made by neighbors who witnessed ACS agents making home visits at the mother’s first-floor apartment. If there is any truth to the allegations, then ACS will have to produce their case files.
“They were well aware that the mother might not have been the greatest mother in terms of watching that child,” Vilensky said according to the New York Daily News. “If ACS was involved, then they didn’t do the greatest job in the world in protecting that child.”
UPDATE: A 13th victim of last week's fire in NYC has died from his injuries. https://t.co/JiNAPnWOaf
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 5, 2018
Several other factors led to the multiple senseless deaths, injuries, and material losses. the group is suing the ACS as well as the New York Fire Department (FDNY) and the city Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) department. Not only were nearby fire hydrants frozen which inhibited the FDNY’s ability to control and douse the rapidly-spreading flames, but the fire escapes didn’t function properly and one of the smoke detectors was never repaired. The HPD had previously written the landlord a citation for the smoke detector, but no follow-up was done to confirm compliance.
The fire was the worst that the city had experienced in decades. Of the 13 people who perished, four were children. A member of the U.S. National Guard, Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah, risked his life entering the building at least four times rescuing his neighbors. On his final trip, he died on the fourth floor from smoke inhalation. The greater community is raising funds to aid the survivors.
We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected by the Bronx apartment fire. We honor the sacrifice of Pfc. Emmanuel Mensah, who entered the burning building several times to rescue others. May he and all the victims of this tragic fire rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/GDrvVbUhux
— US Embassy Ghana (@USEmbassyGhana) January 3, 2018