2 Dead, Several Critically Injured after Fire Burns through Queens Home

7 Online - July 11, 2019

ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- A fast-moving house fire in Queens Wednesday left two adults and one child dead. At least two others were critically injured.

The two-alarm fire broke out shortly after 4 p.m. at a home on 93rd Street in East Elmhurst.

Sources say the fire was set on purpose by an unstable tenant who the homeowner was trying to evict.

The homeowner, Raffalina Morena, was struggling to make sense of the tragedy Wednesday night.

Her sister had been visiting with her family from the Dominican Republic, who arrived last week.

Now the sister, 35-year-old Elizabeth Rodriguez, and her 10-month-old son Liam Dominquez are clinging to life.

Her 6-year-old daughter Emma died at the scene. Also killed was Elizabeth's grandfather, 76-year-old Claudio Dominguez.

Sources say the tenant and suspect, 24-year-old David Abreu Nunez, was also killed by the fire.

He became violent Wednesday, throwing gasoline in the kitchen to set off the deadly chain of events, sources said.

"It's quite unusual at that time in the afternoon to have a fire trap five occupants in a private dwelling," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Officials say more than 100 firefighters arrived at the home within four minutes.

Elizabeth escaped the burning home with the baby. Three others were trapped inside.

"When the gurneys were coming out I said, 'Oh my God,' then I saw the white sheet and that's when my heart started throbbing," said a neighbor, Japhet Zayas.

The first floor tenant and the grandfather died at the hospital.

Residents were seen crying and holding onto one another at the scene.

Firefighters were able to rescue the family dog.

One neighbor told Eyewitness News that renovation work in the home was underway. He said flames were not visible until firefighters broke down a door.