2018-05-16 / Front Page

Burning Candles Sparked Jackson Heights Inferno

By Liz Goff
Fire marshals said a two-alarm blaze that tore through a three-story home in Jackson Heights on May 12th started in a closet where four candles had been burning in front of a Hindu religious statue.

Firefighters arrived at the house at 30-46 71st Street just after midnight and raced into heavy smoke and flames where they pulled cousins Sharon and Jasmine Basta, ages 6 and 8, from a second-floor bedroom, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The girls were lifeless, unresponsive and unconscious when firefighters from Ladder Co. 292- Rescue 4 pulled them from the blaze. Firefighters applied several life-saving techniques at the scene, but the girls did not respond, fire officials said.

The girls, cousins Jasmine Basra and Sahron Basra, both 7, were taken to Weill Conell Medical Center Burn Unit, where they were listed in critical condition.

A third person pulled from the second-floor bedroom was not injured, according to the FDNY.

A 44-year-old relative told investigators she woke on the first floor of the house to see smoke pouring from the second floor, and quickly realized it was coming from a bedroom where her two young sons were sleeping.

The woman said she tried to run to her sons but the hallway leading to the bedroom was too hot. She then screamed to the boys to go to a window, toss a mattress outside and jump on it, authorities said. Te distraught mom waited with relatives as the boys jumped 12-feet to safety. Both boys were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with minor injuries, where they were listed in stable condition.

Other residents scrambled through flames and smoke inside the house to reach fire escapes and windows where they climbed and jumped to safety, fire officials said.

More than 60 firefighters battled the blaze for 30 minutes before it was declared under control at 12:35 a.m.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene.







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