When Maria Coracini awoke at 11:30 pm last May 22, the apartment she shared with her husband was filled with dense smoke. “Wake up, let’s go,” she yelled to her husband, Dari. But the stairs leading from their third floor apartment in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, were already blocked by flames.
Dari froze in fear when he saw the path to the fire escape was also blocked. “The house was in flames, but Dari wasn’t moving,” Maria recalled. “There was so much smoke we couldn’t see each other, and I knew if I left him there, he would die.”
Feeling faint from the smoke, she grabbed Dari’s arm and pulled him toward a kitchen window. Dari jumped, tearing through an awning before hitting the cement pavement below. Despite his pain, he yelled, “I’m here, I’m here” to urge Maria to jump. “She fell right next to me,” Dari said. “I couldn’t help her, but she was alive.” Read more about how Broadway House—and love—helped to heal Dari and Maria.