Billy Graham Chaplains’ Ministry Following Horrific Bronx Blaze

By   •   January 19, 2022

chaplains pray with mother
Seventeen people died and dozens more were injured after a malfunctioning space heater caught a New York City apartment complex on fire January 9. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) offered emotional and spiritual care to locals, like this mother and child who live across the street from the Bronx apartment.
chaplain listens to man
Billy Graham chaplains are trained to offer a listening ear for people in crisis. In the Bronx, a family of three told the chaplains how they placed a wet towel under the door during the fire and prayed for survival. Firemen rescued them—and they all lived.
chaplain and officer at memorial
Chaplain Jason Scalzi offers a ministry of presence to a member of the New York City Fire Department who responded to the deadly blaze. The two remember the lives lost at a nearby memorial site.
chaplain carrying water bottles
Ready to show God's love, a chaplain delivers supplies to the building where the fire took place.
chaplains pray over memorial site
One of the chaplains spoke with a father (not pictured) who pointed to his daughter's face on the memorial wall. He shared that he'd been with her in the apartment when the fire started. He was able to get out, but she did not and died in the building. “I am so sorry,” the chaplain responded.
chaplains look at burned building
Taking in the damage, the chaplains reflect on the tragic stories they've heard while looking up at the soot and broken windows left behind by the flames.
chaplain with hand on man's shoulder
An older resident told a Billy Graham chaplain that he was on the third floor when the fire started to spread. He almost passed out from the smoke and lifted up his hands in prayer. As he moved down the hall, he searched for the elevator. He gives God credit for opening the elevator door, and he fell in right before succumbing to the smoke.
chaplain looks out a window
The chaplains took time to walk up the nearby stairway where many residents took their last breath. They could still smell the strong odor of smoke. "The knowledge that many died right where we were walking was very emotional," said chaplain Jason Scalzi (not pictured). "It was very humbling to be able to walk these steps to bring the message of hope. Upon entering every floor, we stopped to pray for the families and those grieving the death of their loved ones."
chaplains huddle to pray
Not enough prayers can be said for this devastated community. Will you keep praying for them in the coming days?