NewsLocal NewsManhattan


Family, community gather at vigil for family of 6 killed in Harlem fire

Posted at 8:18 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-08 23:05:39-04

HARLEM — Friends, family and neighbors came together Wednesday evening to remember a family of six, including four children, killed in a Harlem apartment fire in the early hours of that day.

The large group gathered for the vigil on the street, just under the burned-out apartment, holding candles and balloons, some with "Happy Mother's Day" written on them.

Raven Reyes, the 27-year-old surviving daughter of Andrea Pollidore, the mother killed in the blaze, spoke at the vigil, remembering her family members and their legacies.

Community leaders from Al Sharpton's National Action Network, including Katrina Jefferson, Derek Perkinson, also spoke at the vigil, vowing that the organization will support the family in the days, weeks and months to come.

A prayer was said at the end of the vigil and then the group released their balloons, which floated up into the sky, past the apartment gutted by the devastating fire.

Pollidore, 45, her four children — two girls, ages 11 and 6, and two boys, ages 8 and 3 — and a 33-year-old man believed to be Pollidore's stepson, were killed overnight when a fire that began on a kitchen stove tore through their NYCHA apartment.

The blaze consumed the fifth-floor home at the Frederick E. Samuel Apartments on the corner of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and West 142nd Street shortly after 1:30 a.m., fire officials said.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the victims were found dead in two separate bedrooms, unable to reach the front door or the apartment's fire escape.

The cause of the fire appears to have been a stove burner that was left turned on, fire officials said, adding that so far there is no indication the fire is suspicious.

Family members said Andrea Pollidore is no stranger to tragedy.

Nineteen years ago, Pollidore was severely burned on her arms and hands when her home caught fire. Then, in 2013, the Brooklyn brownstone where Pollidore lived with her family was destroyed by a fire and they were forced to move to their NYCHA apartment in Harlem.

Watch PIX11's full Facebook Live stream from the vigil below: