An elderly man died and his wife was critically hurt when a fire ripped through their Bronx nursing home, officials said Sunday. The fire broke out inside Our Lady of Mercy Manor on E. 232nd St. near Carpenter Ave. in Wakefield about 5:45 p.m. Saturday, officials said.
Firefighters had the blaze under control in about 25 minutes but not before it filled the couple’s third-floor apartment with smoke. The couple was rushed to Montefiore Medical Center but the 76-year-old husband could not be saved. His 73-year-old wife remained in critical condition Sunday. Their names were not immediately released. Neighbors said the couple smoked constantly despite needing oxygen tanks to assist their breathing. “I told them they shouldn’t smoke because the whole thing could explode,” said neighbor Carmen Rivera. “I could hear the [oxygen] machine at night, and I was scared because I knew they were smoking.”
The couple suffered from mobility problems. On the night of the fire Rivera said she could hear the wife calling out. “She was yelling ‘Fire, fire’ but I couldn’t do anything because the smoke was already coming out," Rivera said. “They were very nice people." The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Our Lady of Mercy is run by Catholic Homes New York, which says on its website that it operates “affordable housing for families and seniors throughout the Archdiocese of New York.”