A one-year-old baby and her two-year-old sister died after being fatally burned by an apartment radiator. It's believed that the radiator's valve may have "popped off," sending scalding steam throughout the apartment. A neighbor told the Daily News, "(The mom) had the baby on the ground trying to make [her] alive, pumping her heart... The father had the girl on his shoulder...(Both babies) were both totally purple."
The girls, identified as Scylee Vayoh, age one, and Ibanez Ambrose, age two, were in cardiac arrest when first responders arrived at the ground-floor apartment at 720 Hunts Point Avenue. They had "first, second and third degree burns over 70 percent of their bodies," according to DNAinfo. A neighbor apparently heard the mother scream and, per WABC 7, "when she went to the door, there was steam coming out from the closed door."
Some of the building, which is privately owned, is used by the city to house homeless families, and neighbors told the News that the girls' apartment was "designated for homeless families." Resident Tye Wiggins said, "We call them the Disney kids because they're so gorgeous. Blue eyes, blonde hair. They're literally like magical. Every time you see those two little girls, you smile."
"This stirs up incredibly difficult emotions. What heartbreaking news. It’s another tragic day for the city, with more tragic news for those who need our help most," NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement. "We’ve lost two more of our youngest, most vulnerable New Yorkers. It comes as the homeless population has just reached yet another record high, and the number of children in the DHS system is soaring. We have to do better. We will ask questions and work to get answers about what happened here—transparency is key. But for now, these children are in my family’s thoughts. It’s a sad day."
Wiggins added, "There's never a day that you see them without their girls. It's heartbreaking. This could have happened to any one of us in the building."