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Another J'can becomes victim of New York blaze

Friday, January 05, 2018

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NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — A Jamaican has become the 13th victim of a deadly fire in the Bronx, New York that killed four members of his Jamaican family last week.

Family member Andrene Paul told reporters that Holt Francis, 27, who was critically injured in the blaze died on Thursday after he was declared brain dead and taken off life support at Jacobi Medical Centre.

Francis had been in a coma since the fire in the Belmont section of the Bronx ripped through his apartment building on Prospect Avenue on December 28 killing 12 people, including his wife, Karen Stewart-Francis, their daughters, seven-year old Kelesha and two-year-old Kylie.

His niece, Shawntay Young also died in the fire.

Doctors removed Francis from life support a few days after his condition deteriorated.

“He has already passed. I don't know how long he lived after being taken off,” Kaidan Blake, Francis' niece told reporters, adding “we were hoping for a different outcome…we were hoping he would show some progress.”

The Jamaicans, who were killed in what has been described as the deadliest fire in New York City in more than 25 years, were part of an extended family that occupied five units in the building.

Relatives in the other apartments including a pregnant woman survived the fire that the authorities said was started by a three-year-old boy who was playing with the burners on a stove.

As the flames spread, his mother grabbed her two children and fled the apartment, leaving the door open behind her allowing the flames to enter the hallway, where they shot up like a chimney fire, fed by the air and accelerated by winds.

Francis' relatives have started a GoFundme account to pay for funeral and burial expenses, and the cost of bringing their bodies to Jamaica.

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