CONEY ISLAND — A Brooklyn grandmother lost everything after a fire ripped through her apartment Thursday afternoon she told DNAinfo New York.
Irma Coleman, 61, was babysitting her grandsons Dominique, 4, and Ray Ray, 2, when flames erupted in the kitchen of her 16th-floor apartment on West 29th Street between Mermaid and Surf avenues a little after 1 p.m.
"There was nothing I could do in that moment except grab them and get out," said Coleman.
She said she thinks the fire started when scraps of old paper she'd been ripping up caught fire while a pot of rice and beans was cooking on the stove.
The fire quickly spread to a closet full of coats. Dominique, who was in the bedroom at the time having an asthma treatment, noticed the fire first and told his grandmother to get water. Instead she grabbed him and Ray Ray, who was asleep on the couch in front of the TV, and ran into the hallway.
"I had to grab them and get out...I could have stopped it if I had a fire extinguisher," Coleman said.
Firefighters arrived at the apartment at 1:14 p.m. and had the blaze under control by 1:40 p.m., according to an FDNY spokesman.
The cause was not immediately confirmed, fire officials said, and fire marshals were investigating.
Coleman, who said she's a former Con-Ed employee now on disability, lost medication for her spine, her walker and her wheelchair.
"There's nothing," she said. "Everything is destroyed."
Her 17-year-old granddaughter who lives with her wasn't home at the time of the blaze.
"I called her. She's devastated," Coleman said. "I don't know if she has any clothes left."
Coleman and her granddaughter will stay at a Red Cross hotel, she said.
"I can't even think about it right now."