NEW YORK (AP) — Five people, including three children, died in a Sunday afternoon house fire that engulfed a single-family home in New York City, spreading to other houses and injuring other neighbors.
The fire broke out Sunday afternoon shortly after 2:30 p.m. in the Queens Village neighborhood of Queens. The two-story home was engulfed. Television news footage showed flames chewing through the roof and roaring in upstairs rooms of the house as smoke poured from it.
“This is a devastation of a family,” Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio said, speaking at the scene of the three-alarm fire.
He said it was “a fire that moved very, very quickly, and the loss was horrendous.”
“There’s a lot we need to know about what happened here,” he added.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said witnesses reported hearing a series of loud booms, and saw someone tumble from a two-story window. The person, a roughly 46-year-old man, fell onto a porch roof and then a lawn and survived, he said.
First-responders carried a limp child from the wreckage.
“It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” neighbor Foster McPhee, 67, told the New York Post. “The guy who was carrying the baby out, you could just see the stress on his face. I’m just emotional about it because I’m a grandfather and I have kids, too.”
Nigro said the victims ranged in age from 2 to 21, plus one adult who was somewhat older.
Some of the victims were in the attic, a “super-human” task for firefighters to reach people in a home engulfed by such a massive fire. He said the wood-frame home burned rapidly. A car was also consumed in the driveway, and Nigro said there appeared to be no explosion.