Mirabel Bryan and her daughter Dwanea Blake were killed alongside two other women in a Bronx apartment building fire.
A highly-regarded X-ray technician killed alongside her elderly mother and two other women in a raging Bronx apartment building blaze was remembered Wednesday as a consummate professional and a devoted daughter.
Colleagues of Dwanea “Renee” Blake, 42, recalled the medical veteran as dedicated to both her mother and her work, earning the respect of coworkers at Lenox Hill Radiology on the Upper East Side.
She and her mom Mirabel Bryan, 70, perished in the Tuesday night fire on the top floor of their six-story apartment building on the Grand Concourse.
Blake’s sister, Petarose Tom, visited the burned out building Wednesday.
“Apparently they found them in the bathroom. I’m still in shock. I’m numb," Tom said. "I gotta go to the hospital now. We’re trying to ID the body but they won’t let us, I guess because of COVID.”
In a touching Facebook post, co-worker John Perales recalled the daughter as a strong leader at work and a consummate caregiver at home. He asked for prayers for his late friend.
1560 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NYC., where there was a raging fire in a 6th floor apartment building. March 31, 2020.
Blake was “in many ways the signature voice in our department,” Perales wrote. “She was resilient in this pandemic crisis and intelligent about our processes at the hospital, an avid reader and caretaker for her mom.”
Another colleague remembered the medical veteran as a friendly presence, recalling how they would share small talk while working.
“I’m just devastated, stressed out,” the woman said. “She was a nice person. It’s just devastating.”
Petarose Tom visits burned out 1560 Grand Concourse Wednesday. Tom's mom, Mirabel Bryan, 70, and sister Dwanea Blake, 42, were killed in three-alarm fire Tuesday night.
Mirabel Bryan, like her daughter, worked in the medical profession, as a nurse practitioner for many years at Bronx Lebanon Hospital - just across the street from her home. Bryan was a mother of three, according to her devastated sister.
In addition to Blake and Bryan, two women in the apartment next to theirs, an elderly tenant and her live-in caretaker, died from the blaze, which broke out about 7:30 p.m. and quickly escalated to three alarms.
All four women were taken by stretcher to BronxCare Health System, the former Bronx Lebanon Hospital, located across from the fire-ravaged building, but couldn’t be saved.
Also hospitalized was their 99-year-old neighbor down the hall, Victoria McDonald, whose space heater is believed to have started the blaze. McDonald was rushed out of the building by her daughter and suffered only minor injuries.
“She put on the space heater, and it caught the sheet on the bed,” McDonald’s daughter, Joy Murdock, told the Daily News Tuesday. “She tried to warm the room up because it was cold.”
“I went in the bedroom and the flame was high," Murdock added. “I was just trying to get my mother out. I brought her downstairs and I went back up to get my dog."
The blaze quickly escalated to a three-alarm fire. Firefighters brought the flames under control in about 90 minutes, FDNY officials said.
Neighbors on Wednesday also mourned the loss of the two other victims, Hepsibah Nation, 93, and her caretaker, Phyllis McGregor, 76.
“At 93, she was still getting about,“ said Bob Adams, 64, a security guard and a neighbor of Nation. “She always asked after my mom. She was such a nice lady.“
“Phyllis was her caretaker. She took her out to do her shopping and to doctors appointments.“
“They were always together, like family,” he said. “ They were lovely ladies. It hurts the way it happened."