• Mother and four children aged below 10, including an infant, are on ventillators
  • Man believes his wife, who is taking longer to recover, was trying to protect their kids
  • Of the 17 people who lost their lives in the deadly Bronx fire, 8 were children

A woman and four children who were trapped in the Bronx fire that killed 17 are battling for life in a medically-induced coma. Mohamed Kamra, 58, said his children, all aged under 10, and wife have been put on ventilators after inhaling excessive smoke in the deadly blaze that ripped through their apartment building Sunday.

Kamra’s wife, Fotoumatia Fofana, 30 and their children Mariam, 8, Jabu, 6, Abubakary, 3, and 10-month-old Ceesay inhaled a heavy amount of smoke during the fire. It rendered them unable to breathe on their own.

"It’s a miracle that my family is still here," said Kamra, who works as a cab driver, to the New York Post. "I thank Allah that my family made it, and I am hopeful with his continued blessing … they will make a full recovery."

At the time of the blaze, Kamra was working in New Jersey when he got news that his apartment building was on fire. By the time he managed to get there, firefighters had already rescued his wife and children from their apartment on the 15th floor.

Fofana and Jabu were taken to the St. Barnabas hospital and the other three children were transported to a different hospital. Kamra said he is "hopeful" of the progress in recovery his family is showing.

The mother of four had sustained severe injuries and is taking longer to recover. Kamra believes Fofana got injured while trying to protect their children.

"I believe she was carrying two and the other two could walk on their own," Kamra said to the Post. "I know she would put them first, she would take care of them before she takes care of herself, even if it risks her life. She would give her life for them, as I would."

The fire broke out around 11 a.m. at a residential complex in Twin Parks North West, Bronx, on Sunday. Of the 17 people who lost their lives in the 19-story building, 8 were children. The New York Fire Department suspects a space heater running in a lower unit of the building caused the blaze, NPR reported.

"Sometimes there’s heat, and sometimes there’s none. Sometimes some of the rooms are hot, and some are cold," Kamra said to the Post. "It has been very cold out, and it’s understandable to keep your family warm people will use space heaters."

This is a representational image. AFP / Ed JONES