Allentown
72° F
Overcast
Overcast

Reading fire victim Maria Melendez tells her story of healing

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 28 2012 05:44:40 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 28 2012 07:44:53 AM CDT
READING, Pa. -

A Reading woman who suffered severe burns during an intense fire in the city says, "I wouldn't wish this on anybody."

Maria Melendez says it is still uncomfortable for her to go up and down the steps of her current apartment in the 1100 block of Green Street in Reading.

It's all part of her long road to recovery.

"It was really, really, really bad," said Melendez.

Her nightmare started April 11, when her apartment at N. 9th and Walnut streets caught fire while she was sound asleep.

She says her 20-year-old son, who happened to be spending the night, noticed the smoke.

"(He was) screaming, 'mom, mom, the apartment's catching on fire. Mom, please try to make it out,'" said Melendez. "I tried so hard to get out, but I collapsed in the dining room."

Melendez says it was her son who managed to get her out of the building.

Her son's name is Jesús, or in English, Jesus.

"I didn't name my son Jesus for nothing. Both Jesus(es) saved my life that day. So I'm grateful to God and my son," Melendez said.

Her injuries are healing slowly.

She also explains that she has to sleep in a chair because she can no longer bear the bedroom.

"I'm afraid that next time I won't make it out," Melendez said.

When asked how she plans to move on, she said, "I don't think I will ever move on. The sirens, I see fire and I get very, very upset."

Melendez says she is undergoing treatment at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and will try to take her recovery one day at a time.