Teen Hero Dies Trying to Save 3-Year-Old From Bronx Fire

By Mimi Nguyen Ly

A New York teenager died after rushing up to the 14th floor of a burning building to rescue a 3-year-old girl.

The New York Daily News reported that Lucas Silverio rushed up and down multiple flights of stairs searching for 3-year-old Yasleen McDonald as a fire raged through an apartment building about one block from Bronx Zoo.

The fire had broken out in the contractor room of the building at 725 Garden St early on Sunday morning, June 9.

Silverio was with a second cousin helping his grandmother out of the burning building when he heard the cries of Yasleen’s mother, Jasmine Moreno, from above.

“Lucas says, ‘Bro, take grandma downstairs, I’m going to check on the girl,’” Silverio’s second cousin, Jesse Alvarez, told New York Daily News.

Silverio ran back up the stairs and found that Moreno was looking for her daughter after the pair had tripped and became separated from each other in the dense smoke.

After searching multiple flights of stairs and hearing her shrieks, Silverio found the 3-year-old child on the 14th floor. He managed to rush the child down to the ground floor where firefighters and paramedics rushed to help, officials said, according to the Daily News.

But Silverio was burned and disoriented, the Daily News reported. He had suffered burns to over 80 percent of his body and died two days later on June 12.

“He had a beautiful spirit and a heart of gold,” Alvarez said of his second cousin. “He had a heart the size of this planet. I want New Yorkers to take away that a hero died, and that hero’s name was Lucas Silverio.”

Yasleen’s mother, Jasmine Moreno, calls the boy a hero.

“My heart is heavy for both my daughter and the kid who saved her,” she told the New York Daily News. “He’s a hero, saved my daughter without even … my condolences. I’m going to keep them in my prayers.”

Yasleen had also sustained burns to over 80 percent of her body and was suffering from smoke inhalation. She died the following day at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Willie Colon, the great uncle of Yasleen, told the Daily News she was a sweetheart.

“A real sweet little girl, smart girl. She didn’t have a chance to live. Everybody loved her,” he said.

“I was shocked that a 19-year-old would go into the fire,” Colon, 52, said of Silverio. “That guy is going to be in my heart forever.”

Silverio was studying to become a physical therapist. His mother was the first to notice that a fire had broken out and called to him while he was in the shower to turn off the water and get out.

Firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control, according to reports. The fire is still under investigation but it does not appear to be suspicious, authorities have said.

A GoFundMe account had been set up to raise money for Silverio’s medical care prior to his death.

A funeral for Yasleen is scheduled for June 13 at Rivera Funeral Home in the Bronx.

Silverio’s funeral is scheduled for June 14 at R.G. Ortiz Funeral Home in the Bronx.