When Maria Coracini awoke at 11:30 pm last May 22, the apartment she shared with her husband was filled with dense smoke. “Wake up, let’s go,” she yelled to her husband, Dari. But the stairs leading from their third floor apartment in the Ironbound section of Newark, NJ, were already blocked by flames.
Dari froze in fear when he saw the path to the fire escape was also blocked. “The house was in flames, but Dari wasn’t moving,” Maria recalled. “There was so much smoke we couldn’t see each other, and I knew if I left him there, he would die.”
Feeling faint from the smoke, she grabbed Dari’s arm and pulled him toward a kitchen window. Dari jumped, tearing through an awning before hitting the cement pavement below. Despite his pain, he yelled, “I’m here, I’m here” to urge Maria to jump. “She fell right next to me,” Dari said. “I couldn’t help her, but she was alive.”
Severely injured, the couple were taken to University Hospital, where they each endured multiple surgeries. Dari broke bones in his feet and ankles and required skin grafts, while Maria had more than 20 fractures in her hip, pelvis, and both feet. Afterward, Maria became catatonic due to the shock of the fire.
Their longtime medical provider, Lauro Rocha, DNP, knew that expert medical care would only go so far in healing the couple. “They needed each other,” he explained. “I knew that their love is very strong and would play a big role in their recovery.”
The couple faced many months of follow-up care, so Dr. Lauro sought a rehabilitation facility that would allow Dari and Maria to remain together every step of the way. He suggested Broadway House for Continuing Care in Newark, NJ, which provides long-term subacute care in a personalized setting. At Broadway House, Dari and Maria received expert medical and nursing care, as well as rehabilitation and emotional support to guide them on their long road to recovery. Just as importantly, the facility permitted the couple to share a room.
With Dari always by her side, Maria gradually emerged from her catatonic state. The couple say it’s been a blessing for them to recuperate together. Dari said, “We are so grateful for Broadway House and the people who work here. They have a real mission to heal.”
Today, the couple’s love is stronger than ever. Dari was discharged from Broadway House in January, but Maria is still a resident due to the severity of her injuries. Every day, Dari returns to Broadway House to visit Maria. Together, they know that love and faith will guide them forward as they rebuild their lives. Maria added, “God has been a blessing to us, and He has used these doctors as his instrument. They have embraced us with so much love at Broadway House.”