2 dead in Queens fire that spread to multiple homes
NEW YORK — Two people were found dead in the ruins of a house that burned down in Queens.
A third person was taken to a local hospital.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reports, fire crews continued to search the buildings into the night, doing final sweeps to make sure everybody had been accounted for while also assessing the damage.
First responders said the heat and wind made it a very hard fire to get under control, and sadly, we’re told a family of three who lived in a basement apartment did not make it out.
Thick black smoke filled the air in South Richmond Hill on Friday afternoon. The fire started around 2 p.m. inside a home on 125th Street off Liberty Avenue.
“The wind was so bad, it felt like a 150 degree on the block,” witness David Howell said.
The fire quickly spread to two houses next door, then the strong winds carried flames across the street, burning two more houses across the way.
“The smoke was black, black, black in the house, so I was trying to get out as quickly as possible,” neighbor Cynthia Singh said.
Singh was about to take a shower when her home caught fire. She had to escape, but the bathroom door would not budge.
“I was trying to turn the lock, and the lock wasn’t turning, so I don’t know where this anger come from, the strength, I just kick the door open and just rush through it,” she said.
Singh ran outside with only the clothes on her back. Now, that’s all she has left.
“I just run downstairs quickly. I heard my neighbor kids screaming, so I help with the kids, too,” she said.
More than 200 firefighters battled the five-alarm fire for hours, but it was only after they finally got the situation under control that crews found a family of three in one of the basement apartments. Sources tell us two were dead and the third unresponsive.
Mayor Eric Adams said on Twitter, “Our hearts break for Queens. For the families of those we’ve lost and those fighting for their lives. Every New Yorker feels this tragedy and we will be with those effected in the days, weeks and months ahead.”
The Red Cross says it’s providing temporary shelter for at least nine families that have been displaced, including more than a dozen children.
Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
The names of the victims have not yet been released.