Barbara Randell, who along with her children came up with the idea for the bake sale held in front of the home at 18-20 215th St., watched as supporters came to buy everything from donuts to croissants. She said she came up with the idea for the bake sale as a way to help the family of Hanna Yoo, the teenager killed in the blaze, and relatives of the other two girls injured in the fire.
"I really have no set goal," Randell said about the amount of she hoped to raise in the sale. She said all the baked goods were donated from the borough businesses Dunkin' Donuts, Waldbaum's, The Cake Box and Bagel Club.
Yoo was killed in the fire that started at 4 a.m. on Feb. 29 while she was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has said. The DA said a house guest intentionally set a towel ablaze, igniting the fire that killed Yoo and left one of her young roommates in a coma.
Ok Ki Gang, 27, of the Palisades, N.J. has been charged with arson and murder in connection with the blaze and Yoo's death, the DA said. A spokesman for the DA said Tuesday the investigation was continuing.
Meena Yoo, 11, survived the fire and was in a coma at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, according to parents at the bake sale. As of late Tuesday no update on her condition could be obtained.
Another 11-year-old girl, Winnie Chung, escaped serious injury.
Neighbors at the bake sale, held near the site of the deadly fire, said Meena and the other two girls were cousins. Winnie returned to school Friday at PS 169, where, according to the parents, she was welcomed back into the auditorium with a standing ovation.
Firefighters from Engine Cos. 320 and 306 joined the dozens of children and parents at the bake sale, which was held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Karen Bodnar, PTA president at PS 169, the school attended by Meena and Winnie, said $500 was raised immediately following the fire by the end of the school day March 1.
"The community has been so generous in their outpouring of food and clothes," Bodnar said. "This has really brought us together as a community."
Standing within the mixture of parents and children was a group of Korean mothers, some of whom had children who also attend PS 169. One of them, Yun Lee, said she came to the bake sale to show support for Yoo's family and demonstrate unity among residents in Bay Terrace.
"They (the organizers of the bake sale) opened their hands and opened their hearts to help fellow Koreans," Lee said. "So we said, 'Let's do this. We have to help, too.'"
For the children at the sale, who were energetically waving signs with the words "Bake Sale" written in red and blue, the cause for raising money was simple.
"We are here to help," said Daniel Randell, the son of the event's organizer.
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2004 Community News Group
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