Two Girls Left Critically Injured after Queens House Fire Forced Residents to Escape through Windows

NY Daily News - May 11, 2018

by NY Daily News

A house fire in Queens that caused residents to crawl out of windows and jump for their lives left a 6- and 8-year-old girl in critical but stable condition early Friday, authorities said.

The blaze broke out just after midnight on the second floor of a three-story home on 71st St. near 31st Ave. in Jackson Heights, an FDNY spokesman said.

Firefighters arrived on the scene in four minutes and charged into the smog, retrieving the children and a third person who was uninjured.

Medics rushed Jasmine and younger cousin Sharon Vasra to Elmhurst Hospital, where they were treated for life-threatening injuries but are currently in stable condition, family members and FDNY officials said.

Aunt Sarog Vasra, 44, woke up to smoke billowing from the second floor of her building and immediately thought about her two young sons sleeping on the floor above her.

"I tried to go inside the hallway but it was too hot," she said.

Vasra then screamed to her sons to run toward the window.

"I told them to pick up the bed and throw it outside so they can jump to it."

Her sons, ages 5 and 12, leapt about 12 feet to their mother's arms and a mattress below. "I had no other solution," said Vasra, whose right leg was hobbled bracing her sons' falls. "If they didn't jump I don't know what would have happened."

Brandon Blanco, 10, was having trouble falling asleep when he heard his neighbors calling for help.

"Jump and I'll catch you," Blanco said he could hear a woman shouting. "They were throwing trash cans and mattresses to jump on. A girl with her little sister couldn't get out." People who live in the home described a mad scramble out of the windows as smoke surrounded them.

"We smelled smoke coming up through the floor and ran out as quick as we could," said a 17-year-old boy who escaped with his mom and 12-year-old brother. "We were lucky the window was open and we could get through the top (of it) to get down the fire escape."