NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 7-year-old boy is dead and his brother injured after a fire spread to couches and Christmas decorations at a home Wednesday morning in Queens.
Firefighters were called to the house on 90th Street in East Elmhurst around 9 a.m. When they arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames.
FDNY Chief Mark Ferran said two young adults built a fire in the fireplace in the first-floor living room of the two-story house and it somehow spread in the early-morning hours.
“To the adjacent furnishings, the couches and chairs in the living room,” Ferran described of the destruction. “There were also Christmas decorations in the living room.”
He said the two adults tried to put out the fire, but by the time they called the fire department, it was out of control.
Christopher Miller, 7, and his 13-year-old brother were upstairs when the fire broke out. Ferran said Christopher was trapped inside. He was found at the bottom of the stairs, overcome by smoke.
“He was on his way out but just couldn’t make it,” Ferran said.
His brother managed to escape the fire, but suffered burns to his hands and arms.
“Anytime you have an early-morning fire in a residential building, there’s always a possibility of people sleeping during the initiation of the fire,” Assistant Fire Chief Ronald Spadafora told CBS 2’s Steve Langford.
The young adults and the boys’ grandfather, who was in the basement, all escaped.
The boys’ mother was not home at the time.
“The mother happened upon the scene after the fire was put under control,” Ferran said. “She was hysterical.”
Fire marshals are investigating, but Ferran said smoke detectors weren’t found in the house.
The medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Neighbors who woke up to the scene were in shock.
“We were really close to them,” Kajao Tura told Langford. “I mean, it’s devastating this happened.”
“It’s just sad,” one man said. “It’s New Year’s. It’s just ridiculous.”
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