1 Dead, 5-Month-Old Injured in Queens Fire: FDNY

WNBC 4 - January 24, 2019

by Checkey Beckford

The four-alarm fire started at a home on 158th Street, near Meyer Avenue, in Jamaica and spread to two homes next door, the FDNY said.

A fast-moving fire tore through three homes in Queens on Wednesday, killing one woman and forcing others to make a desperate escape, including throwing an infant from an upper floor window, officials and witnesses said.

The FDNY said a 40-year-old woman who died was inside a second-floor bathroom of the Jamaica home when on 158th Street, near Meyer Avenue, as firefighters tried to rescue her from what became a four-alarm blaze.

"They were crying, there was somebody in the house, they were saying that," said neighbor Michael Brusch.

FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said a firefighter was able to get into the bathroom and take the woman out of the burning house, but she died at the hospital.

A 5-month-old baby had minor injuries when the child was thrown from an upper floor into the waiting arms of someone on the ground.

"I saw a lot of children with their mother, with their families," said witness Hashim Sajjad. "They were crying and they were coming out with their parents."

Another woman had minor injuries in the fire, officials said. It's not clear if she was related to the baby who had minor injuries from smoke inhalation.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire. Authorities are investigating a cause.

Clifton Stanley Diaz, the public safety chairman for Community Board 12, called for answers about what he called an uptick in fires in the district.

"We want to get to the bottom of it to find out if it's preventable, if it's arson," he said.

"We've been having too many fires in the Jamaica area with people dying," said Diaz. "Something has to be done."