A GoFundMe page has been launched to help pay for the funeral expenses of three family members who perished in a deadly five-alarm fire that ripped through their South Richmond Hill home on Friday, June 17.
The bodies of Salima Persaud, Balo Persaud and their 22-year-old son, Devon, were discovered in the basement apartment of the collapsed three-story home at 104-18 125th St., according to the FDNY.
The inferno broke out at around 2:20 p.m. on Friday and was upgraded to five alarms by 3 p.m., according to officials.
More than 200 firefighters battled the blaze through heavy smoke conditions and four neighboring homes were heavily damaged, including one home across the street, according to the FDNY. The fire was extinguished at around 4:45 p.m. and the victims were discovered soon afterward.
The family leaves behind a son, named Boyo, and two young children, as well as family members abroad in their homeland of Guyana, who are unable to cover the funeral expenses and attend the service, according to Abid Ally, the first cousin of Salima, who created the GoFundMe page.
“They were a family who worked hard and came from a humble background,” Ally wrote. “This family perished in the fire and did not deserve to die like this. They were always so welcoming, treated everyone like family and always tried their best to put a smile on everyone’s faces.”
Ally added, “It is our duty as human beings to give them the same love and care that they shared with everyone. We want to give them a sendoff and final resting place together that they deserve. We also want to be able to alleviate the economic and financial stress on their son, Boyo.”
Ally described her cousin Salima, known as Sally,” as a “sister” who was a “social butterfly, selfless and a genuine person,” who was always the first one to help in any situation.
Balo was a hardworking man who had to stop working due to a disability, according to Ally. She described their son, Devon, as a “smart and sensitive soul” who showed care and compassion for all he met and left a lasting impression.
As of today, Ally’s GoFundMe has raised $33,566. Her goal is to raise a total of $60,000.
“Any amount small or big will go a long way and be very much appreciated in helping our family, and their son Boyo with funeral expenses,” Ally wrote. “We cannot personally thank each and every one of you, but know our gratitude is enormous at this difficult time.”