NY Post – February 19, 2018
by NY Post
An NYU student who lives above the famed Little Italy eatery where a fire broke out tearfully recounted Sunday her harrowing final moments in the apartment, frantically searching in vain for her 6-month-old kitten.
“I was having tea in the kitchen with the kitten,” Joelly Juarez told The Post through tears. “It smelled a little bit like gas but I didn’t think much of it. I started hearing like a crackling. I’m hearing strange things so I look out the window and it’s this huge fire about to come into our apartment.”
Juarez said she woke up her roommate, and the duo began feverishly searching for the young puss, Shenzi.
But then the glass on a window shattered, and the flames started creeping into their home.
“I was screaming, we have to leave, now!” the 21-year-old said shakily, and said the fled down the fire escape without the cat. Shenzi hasn’t been seen since.
Thirteen people were injured as they fled the Mulberry Street address, which sits above the storied restaurant Angelo’s.
The FDNY announced late Saturday that the inferno, which started in the alley behind the legendary eatery, was accidental and caused by somebody who discarded a tobacco product.
Angelo’s, which was established in 1902 and served everyone from LA Laker’s star Kobe Bryant to President Reagan, remained shuttered the day after the fire.
Tables were set with white tablecloths, which were splattered with mud. A note taped to the front window said “Angelo’s is closed due to fire. Will be back soon.”
The stairwell leading up to the units was blackened with smoke, and workers nailed plywood board over the windows.
When told the blaze was started by a negligent smoker, Juarez burst into tears.
“My life was in that apartment,’ she sobbed.