Teen ‘Angel’ Died in Fire Caused by Overloaded Power Strip; Father Thought She was behind Him during Escape

NY Daily News – August 20, 2014

by Edgar Sandoval, Thomas Tracy

A teen “angel” looking forward to the start of school died when a blistering fire tore through her Hamilton Heights home, heartbroken neighbors said Tuesday. Melissa Mendez, 15, was escaping the flames with her father Monday afternoon when the two got separated in the smoke.

“Where’s Melissa?” the teen’s father Antonio Mendez Calderon, 74, screamed when he escaped the building. “She was behind me!”

“They found her on the stairs later,” said Altagracia Hernandez, 50.

The bright-eyed brunette, a student at the Manhattan Academy for Arts and Language, was a devout Catholic who regularly attended Annunciation Church, neighbors said.

She even had a role in the church’s Easter play — as an angel, they said.

“My daughter was a star but now she’s dead,” Calderon said somberly as he collected some clothes from his apartment Tuesday. “She was my everything.”

Calderon said he and his daughter were watching TV when the fire broke out.

“When I saw the fire, I told my daughter, ‘Let’s go!’” he said. “‘We’re going to get burned!’”

But his terrified daughter was too scared to follow him.

Click here for the full story – http://www.ufanyc.org/cms/contents/view/17618

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

This is not an official City of New York or FDNY website. All information shall not be considered that given by the New York City Fire Department or FDNY. The FDNY acronym and the FDNY Shield Design are federal registered trademarks owned by the City of New York.

Copyright 2014 Civil Service Media. All rights reserved.