Lorena Escalera XtravaganzaAge 25
11 May 2012
Brooklyn, New York (USA)
TDoR list ref: tdor.info/11-May-2012/Lorena Escalera
Lorena was found unresponsive on her bed after a fire broke out in her apartment. She had been strangled.
While responding to a fire in Bushwick early yesterday morning, firefighters found the unconscious body of a 25-year-old woman who was pronounced dead at the scene. Now it turns out that the victim was a notable transgender performer, Lorena Escalera, who was the "Puerto Rican Beyoncé."
Police were called to 47 Furman Avenue around 4 a.m., and it took 65 firefighters over a half hour to battle the blaze. Residents say that a man who had been driving by alerted them to the fire—one told the Post, "He was kicking on everyone’s door to let them know there was a fire," while another who credited the Good Samaritan with saving his life, as well as his girlfriend's and their baby's lives, said the man also helped them while they were on the fire escape, "This guy jumps on the rail and pulls it down—and he says ‘Give me the baby!’ so he got the baby and took him down the ladder. He said he was just passing by. I gave him a hug, and he just bounced."
But while most neighbors emerged from their homes, Escalera, whose stage name was Lorena "La'reina" Xtravaganza, was not so lucky: She was found "unconscious and unresponsive" and declared dead by emergency responders. According to the NY Times, "Though the fire has been deemed suspicious, investigators have found no evidence of accelerant, said one law enforcement official" and are awaiting word from the FDNY. The Times adds, "The victim’s roommates said that when work was done on the electrical system, they created holes around the electrical outlets and filled them with cardboard, the official said."
Escalera had apparently brought two men back to her apartment, but it's unclear where they are now. One neighbor said that Escalera was an escort and promoted her services online, “She was always on her laptop posting ads about herself. Still, she was a nice person." The Good Samaritan reportedly told one of the residents that he saw two men arguing outside the building at the time of the fire.
Lorena was a well known performer with the House of Xtravaganza. In 2016 she appeared posthumously in the documentary "Free Cece!". Her murder was not recorded on the official TDoR 2012 memorial list released by Transgender Europe (TGEU) in November 2012, but was recorded by tdor.info.