Woman killed in New York apartment fire survived previous home blazes, family tragedy

NEW YORK — A woman who was killed in a blaze at her Harlem apartment early Wednesday, along with her children, had survived two previous fires, family members confirmed to WPIX.

Andrea Pollidore, 45, her four children — two girls, ages 11 and 6, and two boys, ages 8 and 3 — and a 33-year-old man believed to be the woman's stepson, were killed overnight when a fire that began on a kitchen stove tore through their New York City Housing Authority apartment.

The blaze consumed the fifth-floor home shortly after 1:30 a.m., fire officials said.

FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the victims were found dead in two separate bedrooms.

The cause of the fire appears to have been a stove burner left on, fire officials said, adding that so far there is no indication the fire is suspicious.

Family members said Andrea Pollidore is no stranger to tragedy.

Nineteen years ago, Pollidore was severely burned on her arms and hands when her home caught fire. Then, three years ago, the Brooklyn brownstone where Pollidore lived with her family was destroyed by a fire and they were forced to move to their NYCHA apartment in Harlem.

WPIX also learned that Pollidore's brother, 21-year-old Kristen McKenzie, was shot and killed by an off-duty cop at a Brooklyn nightclub in March 2007.

Pollidore spoke to the New York Times after the shooting, saying McKenzie moved to Brooklyn from Trinidad two or three years prior, and worked in construction.

"It's a very painful day for our city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference Wednesday morning. "As a father, hearing that four children were lost in a single family is extremely painful."