WPIX 11 - March 29, 2011by PETER THORNE
The fire broke out at 1150 Putnam Avenue in Bushwick around 5:30 p.m., killing three and critically injuring one.
Terrified eyewitnesses who flooded 9-1-1 with calls for help describe a harrowing scene. One woman told PIX 11 News she had to dodge a burning mattress thrown from the building as she happened to be walking by. She says she looked up only to see a child engulfged in flames tapping at the window hoping for rescue.
The flames were knocked down quickly but in a half hour three people lost their lives including a 3-year-old girl who died at Woodhull Hospital. A five-year-old boy was critically injured.
Firefighters were able to rescue several other people who were trapped. The fire seems to have broken out on the third floor of the recently renovated Bushwick building.
Fire officials are investigating the incident as possibly suspicious because of the speed at which it spread.
Eyewitnesses told PIX11 News that before the catastrophe they saw kids playing with fire in the building, and suspected that as a possible cause.