2009-06-12 / Top Stories

Carlton Manor Fire Claims Second Life

By Nicholas Briano

Erica Whyms, 28, died last week from her injuries in a Carlton Manor fire on May 27 that also claimed the life of her mother, Lorna, who became trapped in the apartment with her disabled daughter. Erica Whyms, 28, died last week from her injuries in a Carlton Manor fire on May 27 that also claimed the life of her mother, Lorna, who became trapped in the apartment with her disabled daughter. The May 27 fire at Carlton Manor has taken the life of 29-year-old Erica Whyms, who died last week at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Burn Center after suffering severe burns to most of her body, according to officials.

Whyms, who suffered from cerebral palsy, became trapped inside the burning tenth floor apartment at 71-15 Beach Channel Drive along with her mother, Lorna, 54, who perished inside the building in an attempt to protect and get her daughter out safely.

The fire has alerted local elected officials to call for reformed handicap accessibility laws in regard to public housing, asking to give preference to those bound by wheelchairs for lower floor apartments.

Firefighters found the mother and daughter in the same bedroom with pots of water nearby indicating the mother was trying to put out the fire, according to fire officials.

The fire started at 9:45 a.m. on the tenth floor of the 11-story building. Fire Department sources say that the blaze quickly became an "all-hands" fire, drawing 78 firefighters from more than a dozen fire companies, who took approximately 30 minutes to put out the flames.

Lorna Whyms and her daughter Erica were both lifelong residents and according to most that knew them, they were inseparable. Lorna and Erica died four days apart.

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