Two Girls Critically Injured after Candle in Closet Sparks Fire at Queens Home

WPIX - May 12, 2018

by WPIX

QUEENS — Two Queens girls are in critical, but stable condition at New York Presbyterian Hospital after a fast moving fire spread through their Jackson Heights home where the smoke detectors were not working.

“It’s heartbreaking when you pick up a child who wasn’t responsive,” Akira Rodriguez, FDNY firefighter said at a news conference.

For Rodriguez, it was his first rescue ever and he knew he had to save two little girls, nine-year-old cousins, Sharon and Jasmine Basra.

They were both trapped inside a back second-floor bedroom with flames all around in their two family home on 71st Street in Jackson Heights.

The fire, officials say, had been started by a candle in a shrine in a second floor closet.

“I began first with mouth-to-mouth, she was unresponsive,” Lt. Todd Smith, Rescue Four, said at a news conference. “The time I put her on a stretcher, she was breathing. I wish her and her family nothing but prayers."

“They did a great job. My kids are okay,” Mainder Basra, the father of one of the 9-year-olds told PIX11. “We can fix the apartment, but my kids are okay and that’s what matters."

Just minutes earlier, 12-year-old Tyson Basra grabbed his seven-year-old nephew Dashawn and jumped out a second-floor window onto a mattress below., scared with scraped arms and quite a story to tell.

“It didn’t feel so good. I landed on my back,” Tyson Basra told PIX11.

And just five hours later on Case Street in Elmhurst, a 2-alarm fire broke out. Seven more injured firefighters, another daring rescue and sadly again, no working smoke detectors in place.

“Before you go to bed, check the batteries to make sure you have a working smoke detectors,” Edward Baggott, FDNY Queens Boro Commander told PIX11 News.