NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS/AP) — In Brooklyn, an apparent holiday celebration turned deadly when an eight-year old child was killed in a fire that injured his five brothers and sisters.
As CBS Two’s John Slattery reports, the father of the family was able to save all but one of his children.
It was a frantic scene at 9:45 p.m.
“We looked in the window, and I hear a man screaming ‘fire’ several times,” neighbor Tiana Adams said.
Fire engulfed the top floor of a two-family home on Avenue P, with billowing smoke.
“Within a matter of minutes, ten minutes, all of a sudden you saw the flames,” neighbor Robert Litwin said. “Then it was just pandemonium, the fire department was running in.”
Witnesses told 1010 WINS reporter John Montone that the children’s father heard their desperate cries for help and ran into the burning house to get them, but was unable to reach the eight-year-old trapped in a top-floor bedroom behind a wall of flames. The boy, whom officials identified as Avigdor Krasny, was pronounced dead upon arrival at Coney Island Hospital.
“I heard the father went in and was grabbing each child, one to one, but there was one child left, the eight-year-old, that he couldn’t get to,” Litwin said.
LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
New York City Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Marrone said that the design of the house made it difficult.
“A good amount of fire up there, and if you notice the peak of the roof there, it’s an attic space. It’s very tight quarters,” Marrone said. “It’s tough to make a quick push up there, but we got in there as soon as we could.”
Neighbors say it may have been a holiday candle that started the fire, with the family celebrating the last night of the seven-day Succot holiday, the Jewish harvest festival.
“There were several candles lit on a table,” Adams said.
Neighbors say the parents may have been eating in an enclosed, tent-like structure on their balcony when the fire started, with the children inside the home, along with others in the house.
“There were over 20 people in the building on the second and third floor,” Chief Marrone said.
The other five children in the family, ranging in age from one to 10 years old, are being treated at Staten Island University Hospital. A one-year-old girl is in critical condition, while the other four children are stable.
What should have been a joyous night turned tragic, with two parents now holding vigil at the hospital.
The fire raged for nearly 90 minutes before it was brought under control. Fire officials have not yet determined a cause.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)