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Honduran Woman’s American Dream Shattered By Bronx Fire With PM-Social Club Fire, Bjt

March 26, 1990

NEW YORK (AP) _ For Alva Romero, who left Honduras for a better life in the United States, an American dream ended in the deaths of six relatives who were among 87 victims of a fire at an illegal social club.

Her daughter, her two brothers, a sister, a cousin and a niece perished in the fire early Sunday morning at the Happy Land club, a hangout for Latin Americans.

A grieving Romero, who came to America 2 1/2 years ago, said it wasn’t severe dissatisfaction with Honduras or the country’s political and economic upheavals that prompted her and her relatives to leave.

″This is America. We all would have a chance to do better here,″ she said as she dabbed her eyes and clutched a picture of her daughter. ″Now, I don’t know.″

″We came here to better ourselves,″ Romero said soon after viewing her relatives’ bodies at a morgue, ″but this is what we get.″

Her husband remained behind in Honduras, Romero said. Would she stay in the United States?

″I don’t know. Everything is changed. I don’t know.″

Romero, 34, worked as a home attendant, helping to feed and clothe the elderly and sick.

But now, it was friends and relatives who were helping Romero as they gathered at a high school where officials posted snapshots of the dead on the wall.

Among them were Romero’s brothers, aged 33 and 21; her 18-year-old sister, her daughter, also 18, a cousin, 18, and a niece, 17.

″They had been to the club before and they liked it,″ Romero said. ″It had been three weeks since they had been there.″

″And, last night,″ she said, her voice choking with emotion, ″They all decided to go back to the club. I don’t know why.″

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