Street named for Bronx teen who made ultimate sacrifice in doomed effort to save 3-year-old from high-rise blaze
The stinging tears and lingering heartbreak were tempered by pride Friday as the family of a heroic Bronx teen gathered on a street that will soon bear his name.
Lucas Silverio was remembered by about 40 family members and friends at an emotional gathering on a section of Grote St. that will be renamed in honor of the 19-year-old killed while toting an injured 3-year-old girl down from a raging high-rise fire this past June.
“This is the least of what he deserves, and I’m just grateful that at least we have this commemorate his honor,” said Silverio’s teary cousin and best friend Jeury Tineo, 19. “This is something that my family’s never going to recover from. He was too good for this world.”
Many in the crowd wore shirts with Silverio’s face set against white puffy clouds on a bright, sunny morning. Tineo wept throughout the ceremony, as did Silverio’s mother Mercedes.
Silverio succumbed to massive injuries suffered this past June after lugging little Yasleen McDonald down 14 stories from the burning apartment building. Despite his selfless courage, the child passed away from her own injuries suffered in the raging blaze.
Yasleen became separated from her mother Jasmine Moreno in the choking smoke and searing flames during the June 9 blaze in the building just one block from the Bronx Zoo in the Belmont section.
Silverio, who earlier helped his grandmother escape from their apartment, went back up the stairs after hearing screams from the missing girl’s mom. But just as the heroic teen found the girl amid the chaos, both were scalded by a blistering mix of heat and fire. The teen still made it downstairs, carrying the child with him despite his own mortal injuries.
“His heart was bigger than the size of Jupiter,” said the hero’s cousin Jesse Alvarez. “We all have a reason, a purpose in life. His purpose was to be Yasleen’s hero.”
The fatal blaze began in a trash compactor, and the FDNY is still investigating the cause.
City Council member Ritchie Torres plans to introduce a City Council bill renaming the street for Silverio, with a vote set for December and the sign unveiling expected next year. The teen was studying to become a physical therapist, and his family moved to the Bronx from the Dominican Republic to help Silverio pursue his dream.
“He displayed more heroism in one moment than most of us will ever show in a lifetime,” said Torres, who had tears streaming down his face while meeting with the Silverio family.