Witnesses: Children Were Playing With Matches

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Three people died and seven others suffered non-life threatening injuries Monday after a fire in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire, but are calling it suspicious.

A 3-year-old girl, 14-year-old girl and 62-year-old man were killed in the blaze, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported. Two of the nearly 60 firefighters who battled the blaze were also injured.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon speaks to witnesses in Bushwick.

The fire, reported shortly before 6 p.m., hit the upper two floors of a four-story building at 1150 Putnam Ave., near Bushwick Avenue.

Fire crews worked to extinguish the flames and brought the blaze under control around 7 p.m.

It was a scene that even firefighters had to pause and pray over. Chopper 2 HD was over the scene and was rolling as smoke and flames engulfed the building. One witness was helping a man who was burned on half his body.

photo 21 Brooklyn Building Fire Kills 3, Injures 7

(Photo/Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

“And I was holding his hand the whole time, and he was just asking for his baby, his baby,” neighbor Arelis Cruz told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

Cruz and her family live across the street from the fire, and said they saw it break out. Cruz and her son said there were children inside, playing with matches.

“I seen them playing with the fire, so I came from the store over there, and all I saw was the fire and everything, and everybody was outside going crazy,” Brandon Fernandez said.

“And another child was just screaming out for her mother, and my son says he just saw the fire from behind them take the two of them out,” Cruz said.

In addition to the dead and injured, some residents were seen jumping from the windows.

Neighbors told Dennis they were in shock over the deadly blaze.

“Yeah, they had a whole bunch of small kids in there,” Kimberly Connell said.

Though the fire remains suspicious, the FDNY is still investigating what neighbors were saying — children playing with matches.

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