|Friends and neighbors Cristina Morales (l) and Miguelina Jaquez (r)|
Miguelina Jaquez and Cristina Morales, neighbors and friends for 33 years, live on the “E” line of apartments at 2440 Amsterdam Ave., in Manhattan’s Washington Heights.
The evening of Jan. 23, a four-alarm fire drove them both from their homes and out into the bitter cold.
Morales , whose smoke alarm had gone off, ran down to Jaquez’s apartment to alert the family—Miguelina, her daughter, son-in-law, and their 8-month old son—to get out.
Jaquez grabbed her purse and they ran from the building.
“If had been 1:30 in the morning we’d all be gone,” said Jaquez, an administrator for the MTA. “When the fire was climbing up the walls it got stronger toward the fourth floor and blew up; it went up to the roof …. we’re blessed to be alive.”
Morales, who left her apartment with no coat and only slippers on her feet, said she is grateful for the emergency financial assistance she received from the Red Cross for food and clothing. She says from now on she plans to donate ten dollars a month, every month, to help other families who may be displaced from their homes as she was.
Jaquez said, “You helped me get back on my feet. I had no clothes; I lost everything. So to be able to get some clothes with the [debit] card you gave me helped so much. I thank the Red Cross for helping me bounce back up.”