Kids thrown to safety during intense Bronx blaze

Tenants say they were forced to throw their young children from a window to escape flames at their Bronx apartment building Monday.

Almost 60 firefighters took close to 45 minutes to put out the intense fire at 2504 Bronx Park East. Officials say the blaze started in a first-floor apartment, causing smoke to spread to the top floors. Investigators have labeled the fire suspicious.

A tearful Barbara Ortega says she made the agonizing decision to drop her 2-year-old and 1-year-old from her second-floor fire escape. "Everybody was panicking ... there was nowhere to go," said Ortega.

Nearby workers say they, along with police officers Paul McLaughlin and Maximo Rosado, helped catch up to four babies and young children from the building. One Good Samaritan says they urged the women not to jump, but one did, and she hit the ground hard.

A fire victim says she has nothing left after flames tore through her apartment. The Red Cross is assisting two households.

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