Children Who Survived Cutler Bay Fire Talk Recovery
CUTLER BAY (CBS4) – Two children who survived a fire at their Cutler Bay house while they were home alone spoke exclusively with CBS4 news saying they are fine and thankful for the Miami-Dade emergency workers who helped save their lives.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench spoke with four-year-old Jamahri Mays and his six-year-old sister Jamea Mays inside the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital. The children have been recovering ever since the blaze gutted their home on Martinique Drive.
Their mother Nakisha Mays told CBS4, “God has a plan for their lives. That’s why they’re still here.”
Detectives said the front door of their home had been locked; and when Miami-Dade firefighters entered the house, they found that the children were unresponsive and unconscious. They were airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center.
Jamea Mays said she was “feeling good.” Her mother said a neurologist was monitoring her to check her body movements after the fire.
“What do you think about the firefighters?” D’Oench asked her.
“I appreciate them,” she said.
“What would you like to say to those firefighters?”
“Thank you,” she said. “I think what they did, I appreciate it. And I think I should be better.”
“What do you want to do know?” CBS4 asked her.
“Go back home,” she said.
Jamahri Mays said he was “feeling better.”
His mother said he is being monitored for heavy smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.
“How are you Jamahri?” D’Oench asked the child.
“Fine,” he said with a scratchy voice.
“Are you ok?” D’Oench asked.
“Yeah,” he smiled.
“Your voice is scratchy from all the smoke you inhaled?” D’Oench asked him. The child smiled and nodded his head.
It’s not known how much longer the children will be at the Holtz Children’s Hospital.
“I’m just hanging in there and pray for a full recovery for them,” said their mother, Nakisha. “It’s God’s will that they’re going to be fine. They survived from the house. That means from here on that God has a plan for their lives. That’s why they’re still here.”
“I’ve been here at the hospital since the day this happened,” Mays said. “I just can’t leave them. I have to be at work to provide for them but I can’t leave them until I know they fully recover. They mean everything to me. It didn’t matter to me that all their belongings were burned. As long as they were not harmed. As far as extensive burns inside, they were were burned on the inside. I’m just glad there were no burns on the outside.”
Mays said she was at work when the fire broke out. Police said the caretaker, 31-year-old Andrew Sepulveda, had gone out to a store for some items and left the children home alone. He has been charged with two counts of child neglect with great bodily harm.
“My co-worker was telling me there was a fire at the house and you need to get there and I said, oh my God, my children are there,” said Mays. “So I dropped everything and I ran out. It was like ‘oh my gosh I didn’t know what to do. I started hyperventilating and I have anxiety and it was just so much.”
“I looked at my kids on the stretchers and there was all I could do was pray,” she said.
“I very much appreciate what the Miami-Dade firefighters have done,” she said. “They have been here three times, to check up on them, to make sure they are doing well and get a status update on them.”
On March 28th, D’Oench spoke exclusively with a half dozen of the firefighters who visited the children.
At the time, Captain Eddy Alarcon said, “There’s no other feeling like that. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. You know that you were there and you were able to do something for somebody and because of what you did, they are still alive today.”
“Right now, we need clothing and shoes and school supplies for the children,” she said. “We lost everything and we are actually homeless. We have no place to stay and need housing assistance.”
Neighbors4Neighbors is helping Nakisha Mays and her children and with the non-profit organization “Neat Stuff” to help the children find new clothing and shoes.
And if you’d like to make a donation to help the Mays family replace their furnishings and belongings, go to neighbors4neighbors.org and click on “donate now.” Then just put “MAYS FAMILY” in the intention field.
“I’m ok,” said Nakisha Mays, who has not left the hospital since the fire. “I am just hanging in there and keeping hope and faith.”