“As long as they’re breathing, I am breathing,” the mother told PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo outside a Manhattan hospital.
But Sunday, they stopped breathing. Their father stepped out to get groceries, he told police, and their apartment on Livonia Avenue went up in flames.
The kids were left alone and locked inside.
“It’s ridiculous! No reason kids should be left by themselves,” said their neighbor, Rahnell Texsara.
Eight-year-old Naomi, five-year-old Tonya, and four-year-old Anthony were trapped and ultimately passed out on the floor.
Since smoke detectors were not working, a neighbor and her son sprang into action and called 911.
“I covered my face with water and tried my best to break into the door,” recalled Texsara.
Finally, FDNY members broke through the door and scooped them off the floor, saving their lives.
“This was really advanced fire. The door was locked, clutter in the apartment, and it was heavily filled with smoke. It took a lot to find the kids,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh.