Relatives of the victims who were injured or died in the deadliest fire the Bronx has experienced in over 25 years have lashed out against the mother of the toddler who is believed to have started the fatal blaze.
A cousin of one of the twelve victims who did not survive angrily spoke out on Monday and demanded “accountability” from the parents of the toddler.
According to authorities, the fire was started by a 3½-year-old boy who was left alone while his mom showered. At some point while he was left alone, he wandered into the kitchen and began playing with the knobs on the stove, reported the New York Post.
The boy is said to have a history of playing with the burners, and Kadian Blake, whose cousin Karen Stewart-Francis died, says the mother is to blame.
“I want the mother and the father to be responsible because the mother is an irresponsible parent,” Blake told the New York Post. “There needs to be accountability.”
Blake, 32, also told reporters the boy would sometimes wander outside the building because his mom would haphazardly leave the door open when he wasn’t in her sight.
Shevan Stewart, who was related to four people who died, expressed anger at the mother as well.
“I would kick [the mother’s] a** all over the place,” Stewart told the New York Post. “You got to school your children. You and your children cost 12 people their lives.”
During a candlelight vigil held on Monday, Rev. Jonathan Morris, a pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, told mourners to use their faith to guide them in this time of grief.
“What an amazing witness you have, as a family, given to the world that you are united in the midst of an unspeakable tragedy,” Morris said at the vigil. “You are showing each other the very love and tenderness of God. We all pray for you. We pray for each other.”
No charges are being considered against the mom of the toddler police said.
A GoFundMe has been started for family of Karen Stewart-Francis.
(Photo: Getty Images)