NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teenager was killed and her mother and another woman were injured after an apartment fire in the St. Albans section of Queens on Wednesday night.
A teddy bear, storage boxes and mattresses are all that’s left at the location where family members were gathering Thursday to grieve.
A 16-year-old girl, identified as Lamonies Smith, lost her life and her mother is still fighting for her life after the second-floor blaze on Merrick Boulevard.
“She was such a wonderful girl. She loved to smile and laugh and her music and loved to eat,” “Benita,” Smith’s aunt, told CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.
More than 60 firefighters responded to the fire at around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. They pulled three women from the building. Smith’s 56-year-old mother and 76-year-old neighbor were listed in serious condition at Jamaica Hospital. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries and all the other tenants escaped unhurt.
“I saw the smoke coming towards my apartment, so I went into the bedroom and dialed 911,” witness Kojo Robertson said.
It’s unclear what caused the fire that started in the studio apartment the mother and daughter shared.
“It hurt me because she is such a sweet girl, a very sweet girl,” Robertson said.
Robertson lives across the hall. He had just given Lamonies a Christmas present, $50 to spend however she liked. CBS2’s Jakeway has learned Smith had autism, but was more vibrant than most. She loved to dress up in her mother’s clothes.
“She had a great spirit. She was in her own zone listening to her music. That was her favorite thing, music. She had a great spirit,” neighbor Shadae Webb said.
The Department of Buildings has declared the building unsafe and evacuated tenants as officials investigate.
Members of the FDNY Fire Safety Education Team were stationed down the street at Checkers, handing out smoke alarms to anyone that comes by.