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Three Members of Same Family Killed in Bronx Fire

By  Nicole Bode and Trevor Kapp | December 31, 2012 11:28am | Updated on January 1, 2013 3:19pm

BRONX — Three members of the same family were killed early Monday when a home burst into flames, fire officials said.

John Debro, 73, his sister-in-law Annetta Isaac, 71, and his grandson Jahvonte Smith, 12, were  inside their home at 735 Beach Avenue when it caught fire at 5:45 a.m., fire officials said. They were declared dead at the scene.

The blaze began on the second and third floors of the three-story home, fire officials said.

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, an FDNY spokesman said.

Family friend Terrain Scott, 30, said Smith was a "very loving, caring boy."

She said he had played basketball outside all summer.

"He was an excellent ball player. He wanted to play in the NBA," she said.

Police said three others were injured in the blaze, including a 48-year-old woman who suffered a broken ankle after jumping out of a second-floor window. All three were sent to Jacobi Medical Center in stable condition.

Toure Bakary, 50, who lives in the building next door, said he ran downstairs and saw flames coming from the building.

''People were jumping out the window," said Bakary, who said he helped three children off the ledge to the ground. He said one of the boys "was crying for his grandma. He was shaking saying 'My grandma's inside. My grandma's inside.''"

Bakary said he spotted a woman trapped inside by the smoke.

''I looked at her. The smoke was so dark. She said, 'I can't breathe. I'm on fire.'''

Lenore Westberry, 52, said Johnny Debro ''was a real beautiful person. He was real humble, had a nice swag on him. He was well respected in the area.''