There’s not a scratch on her face, not a mark on either of her tiny hands.
“My baby is doing fine,” Zaniyah’s mother, Saschelle Hewitt, said before she cradled her beaming daughter in her arms. “She’s the only one without bumps and bruises.”
Hewitt credits Zaniyah’s survival to her quick-thinking cousin, Vanessa Scott.
“She put her through the window because she couldn’t breathe in that black stuff,” Hewitt, 22, said. “She saved Zaniyah’s life.”
Hewitt was taking a shower inside her fifth-floor Pelham Parkway apartment Monday when she heard several of her relatives screaming.
“Fire!” someone yelled. “Oh my God! Oh my God!”
Hewitt bolted out of the bathroom and grabbed her 2-year-old daughter, Neveah. Scott scooped up Zaniyah.
All four became trapped in Hewitt’s bedroom. Thick smoke poured into the room.
“It was pitch black,” Hewitt said. “We started breaking the windows with our hands so we could breathe and scream for help because no one could find their phones.
“I thought none of us was going to make it out. We were screaming for help, and it was like no one was caring.”
At first, Scott put only Zaniyah’s head out the window. Concerned her baby cousin might still suffocate in the smoke, Scott placed the infant’s entire body through the opening.
A dramatic photo, published in the Daily News on Tuesday, showed the diaper-wearing baby hanging in midair.
At one point, Scott became dizzy and feared that she’d pass out. So she held Zaniyah with one hand as she braced herself against a wall with the other.
“It seemed like forever,” Scott, 18, said. “I was screaming for help and trying not to panic. I thought the fire was coming closer to me.”
Help wasn’t far away.
Firefighters arrived at Hewitt’s apartment and quickly scaled a ladder to save Zaniyah and eight others from the blaze that fire marshals said was started by “a child playing with fire.”
Everyone in the apartment survived, including Zaniyah’s father, Michel Alexander, who jumped out a separate window and broke several bones. He was still at Jacobi Medical Center yesterday in fair condition.
Zaniyah was taken to the hospital for observation, but was released Monday night.
“I don’t think she would be here if I didn’t put her out of the window,” Scott said. “It was just too much smoke.”
Source: Daily News