Officials: Woman dies in Brooklyn fire started by 2-year-old

Newsday - December 24, 2006

by 2-year-old

NEW YORK (AP) A 2-year-old boy playing with stick matches ignited a fire that swept through his family's apartment, killing his mother and injuring neighbors, police said.

Sandra Stephens, 45, died from wounds suffered during the blaze that forced her neighbors to flee the building. The 2-year-old, Kyle, was severely burned over more than half his body and remained Saturday in critical condition at a local hospital.

His older brother, Kimali, 14, broke his ankle when he jumped from a window; his sister, 8-year-old sister, Kayann, escaped the fire unharmed.

The fire broke out at about 11:40 p.m. Friday night on the sixth floor of an apartment building at 1809 Albemarle Road in Brooklyn, fire officials said

The incident started when the 2-year-old set fire to a mattress while playing with the matches, fire spokesman Seth Andrews said.

His sister, Kayann, was awakened by the blaze. She roused her mother and older brother, who tried to drag the burning mattress out of the apartment, Andrews said. But the mattress became stuck in the foyer, engulfing the front end of the apartment in fire, Andrews said.

Fleeing the fire, Kimali, ran into a bedroom and then escaped through a window. He fell three stories after grabbing onto cable wires and landed on pavement, breaking his ankle, fire officials said. Firefighters later found the toddler in a bathtub.

A 45-year-old woman was in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center, officials said, while a 12-year-old boy, was found burned and unconscious in the apartment building. He was in stable condition, also at Jacobi Medical Center. A 45-year-old man was treated at a Brooklyn hospital and released. Another girl, 9, escaped unharmed.

Stephens died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Fire marshals investigated the case and determined the cause. Andrews said Saturday that the fire department considered the case closed.