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Woman Falls Down Inwood Apartment Stairs, Out Window In Fatal Freak Accident

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A woman from the Dominican Republic, who was visiting her family in upper Manhattan, died in a freak accident on Thursday night.

At around 8:30 p.m., 67-year-old Francisca Fernandez slipped while walking down a flight of stairs in her son's apartment building on Sherman Avenue in Inwood, and then fell out of a window in the stairwell -- and plunged five stories to her death, police said.

"Boom, when I see from the window I see the lady (fall) down stairs, I call police," witness Sonia Rodriguez told CBS2's Steve Langford.

The victim's family is angry because they said the window Fernandez fell out of did not have protective bars.

"She fall down in the stairs and go straight in the window and break the window, because the window doesn't have brakes -- no good," said Yesenia Nunez, the woman's daughter.

Nunez said a picture the family took immediately after the accident showed that there were no protective guards or bars on the window. A safety restraint was later installed, Langford reported.

A day later, the family was trying to remain strong.

"We just have to pray, because God is the only one that knows everything," Nunez said.

As police returned to the scene of the horrendous fall the day after, the city's Health Department, responsible for window guards, told CBS2, "If there were children under the age of 10 living in the building, there should have been guards on the windows."

The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development said it has no open housing code violations related to window guards in the building, Langford reported.

One man, who identified himself as an employee of the company that manages the building, offered few answers.

"Don't worry about it," he said.

Fernandez was supposed to return to the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. She will now return home to be buried there, Langford reported.

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