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Elderly couple killed, dozens displaced in NYC fire. What we've learned about the victims.

Couple killed in Washington Heights fire
Couple killed in Washington Heights fire 01:56

NEW YORK - Two people were killed and dozens are now displaced after their apartment building caught fire in Washington Heights

Luciano Taveras, 74, and his 77-year-old wife Maria, died in the fire that consumed their 6-story apartment building at the corner of West 178th Street and Broadway Tuesday morning. 

Officials said firefighter arrived at the scene in less than five minutes, but it took hours to get the fire under control.   

Loved ones said the two, who were married for almost 30 years, were never apart. Speaking in Spanish, Luciano's sister told CBS New York's John Dias Luciano wanted to be with his wife until the very end. 

Family handout

In 2016, Maria had a stroke, leaving her bedridden. Family members believe Luciano wouldn't leave her side as the fire destroyed their home. 

"It wasn't easy to move her," her niece said. 

The only solace loved ones have is that the couple took their last breaths side by side. 

"She was a good person. The husband, too," sister-in-law Amalgam Guzman said. 

Six people suffered minor injuries in the fire. Three of them had to be hospitalized. Dogs in cages were seen getting rescued from the building after the fire was put out. 

Dozens of people displaced by the fire

A full vacate order has been issued for the building. The American Red Cross says it will help out as much as it can, replacing medication and finding emergency shelter for the 80 people who have been displaced. 

"There is a difference in degrees of damage in the building," Frederic Klein of the American Red Cross Greater New York said. "Some of the residents look like they'll be dealing with a much longer recovery process." 

Officials are hoping that in the coming days, some residents will be able to return to their apartments to collect whatever is left of their belongings. 

Fire marshals are still trying to determine a cause of the fire. 

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