(NYDAILY) – A Harlem family of six died early Wednesday, trapped by raging flames ignited by an unattended burning stove as they slept — and tragically unaware of the blaze because a fire alarm may have been disabled, officials said.
Mom Andrea Pollidore, 45, died alongside her 32-year-old stepson, Matt Abdularauph, and four of her young children after the fire broke out about 1:40 a.m. inside their three-bedroom apartment on the fifth floor of the Frederick E. Samuel Houses at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and W. 142nd St.
The FDNY determined the deadly blaze was accidental, caused by unattended cooking. There was no smoke alarm recovered.
Family and neighbors were grief-stricken by the fire’s immeasurable toll.
The youngest victim was 3-year-old Elijah.
“He was smart, a quick learner,” grief-stricken dad Jean Belot said at the gutted building after getting the tragic news. “I’m not in a good state of mind.”
Also killed in the fire was Elijah’s 11-year-old sister, Nakaira; 6-year-old sister, Brooklyn; and 8-year-old brother, Andre, according to family friends.
All six were found dead inside two bedrooms, cut off from the exit and a fire escape, officials said.