2018-05-16 / Front Page

Girls Critical In Jackson Heights House Fire

By Liz Goff
Fire marshals are investigating the cause of a two-alarm blaze that tore through a three-story home in Jackson Heights on May 11.

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 Vasta, ages 6 and 8, from a second-floor bedroom, an FDNY spokesperson said.

The girls were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with life-threatening injuries, 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, a fire source said. The boys, ages 5 and 12, jumped approximately 12-feet and landed in the arms of their mother, who was standing on the mattress, the source said.

The boys were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with minor injuries.

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 more than 30 minutes before it was declared under control at 12:35 a.m.

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

The investigation is ongoing.






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