A retired nurse and her adult daughter were among the four women killed by the fire that tore through a Bronx apartment building Tuesday night, according to relatives and neighbors.
Terri Turner, 70, whose legal name was Mirabel Theresa Bryan, died alongside her daughter, 42-year-old Renee Blake, in the blaze on Grand Concourse near East Mount Eden Avenue in the Claremont section, family members said.
“My mom was the best mom in the world,” son Lance Fowler said. “Yesterday was devastating for the whole family, and she will be missed.”
Another of Turner’s daughters, Petarose Tom, said she made the horrific discovery that her sister was also killed in the blaze when a firefighter at the scene Tuesday night told her “both bodies” had been removed from the apartment.
“I said, ‘Both?’ That’s when I found out my sister died as well,” said Tom, 55. “I was shocked because I didn’t know my sister was there.”
Turner worked at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital — directly across the street from the apartment building where she perished — the family said.
“She was a cheerful, very nice person,” recalled a neighbor, Rosaline Ephraim, 68, who said she worked with Turner at the hospital for about 20 years. “A very good nurse. A nice nurse. Very caring.”
The blaze erupted in a sixth-floor apartment at around 7:20 p.m. before spreading to the roof, fire officials said.
At least 140 firefighters battled the inferno until it was placed under control about two hours later.
The four critically burned victims were rushed to Bronx Lebanon, where they were pronounced dead, police said.
Another resident said Wednesday the fire was another blow to New York while the city is combating the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is another tragedy in the City of New York and we’re going through so much,” Debra Myers, 65, said. “I just want to tell everyone to be safe.
“We just need to pray for one another and just hope,” she added.
Myers was horrified to hear Turner and her daughter were killed, and said they were “like family” to her.
“Those are my very closest, closest neighbors,” Myers said. “And we’re a family in this building. They were like family to me.”
The FDNY is investigating the cause of the blaze, which neighbors suspected may have been caused by a space heater in one of the apartments.