Queens Fire Kills Three People, NYFD Officials Say NYC is Witnessing an “Unprecedented” Number of Fatal Fires
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – According to a fire report posted on nytimes.com, city records showed there were numerous reports of overcrowding at home located in the Elmhurst section of Queens, New York. The news report also alleges that there were complaints received about “illegally modifying the house to allow for more tenants. That overcrowded home caught on fire and took the lives of three people.
Firefighters responded to a house fire located on 48th Avenue in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Queens at around 5:35 am. The firefighters discovered the entire three-story building was engulfed in flames. According to fire officials, the fire had spread to every floor of the house. The firefighters fought the flames and recovered two bodies from the second floor, and one more body was discovered on the third floor. None of the victims’ names or ages were released to the public.
Queen’s borough president, Donovan Richards, said, “This is just sad; it’s heartbreaking. There is no other way to describe it.”
A total of eight residents reside at the house. Two of the home’s residents who were fortunate enough to escape the raging fire had sustained minor injuries. They were transported to a local area hospital, and another resident was unharmed. Two of the residents were not inside the home at the time of the blaze.
Chief Richardson stated that the fire likely started on the first floor based on a preliminary inspection. However, the cause of the fire is under investigation.
Two firefighters sustained injuries during the rescue and while putting out the flames. One of the firefighters fell through the floor while inside the burning home.
According to the news report, the home has received 35 complaints since 2001. The complaints are filed with the New York City Department of Buildings. The report also states that over a dozen complaints about the unsafe living conditions at home were lived in the last two years. One prospective tenant reported back in January that the house appeared to have over 60 residents living in the home. The witness also stated that they observed people using illegal drugs, and the entire home smelled of marijuana. Other complaints filed alleged the building looked like it might collapse at any moment. Another complaint stated the home and its garage was illegally transformed into “rooms for rent.”
Councilman Francisco Moya stated that these fires indicate a shortage of affordable housing, forcing impoverished residents to cram together in unsafe houses to save money. Councilman Francisco Moya’s district includes East Elmhurst. Councilman Moya believes that the landlords are more interested in producing profits than their tenants’ safety, and the problem won’t go away, causing man more of these tragic events.
A spokesman for the Fire Department stated that in 2020 there were 62 people killed in residential fires in the city. Fire officials characterized the number of fatal house fire deaths as “unprecedented” in the city’s history.
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