NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A little boy is dead after a fire in Queens that is now considered suspicious.
Tragedy struck around 6:30 a.m. Sunday inside a multi-family building on Hillmeyer Avenue in Far Rockaway.READ MORE: NYPD: 3 Shot In Washington Heights, No Arrests
Neighbors woke up to the smell of smoke.
“I saw flames. I saw smoke. You know, people were just in shock,” neighbor Hassan Booker told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
Meco Frost lives in one of the downstairs apartments.
“It was a terrible fire, to be honest with you. It spread from one unit to the other,” Frost said.
Firefighters responded and put out the flames.
Nine-year-old Matthew Pichardo, who lived in the upstairs apartment, was taken to Saint Johns Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I have a daughter, so actually, it really hit me at home. I really feel mortified. I feel bad for the family,” Frost said.
Three others suffered minor injuries.READ MORE: NYPD: 2 Gunman Wanted After 10 Shot Outside Queens Laundromat
Upstairs, in the burned-out apartment, dozens of candles are seen littering the apartment.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Downstairs, Bunmi Aiyedbinu salvaged what she could from her burned-out apartment.
“I was at work when they called me and they told me that the house is burning,” she said.
Nearly everything she owns is scattered outside a neighbor’s house. Still, she’s grateful she is alive.
“The little boy, I saw him yesterday. But where is he now? It could be me. It could be you. It could be anybody,” Aiyedbinu said.
Police sources tell CBS2 the fire has been determined to be suspicious.
Fire investigators were on the scene for hours, combing through the rubble, trying to figure out how the fire was started.MORE NEWS: COVID In New York: Mask Mandates Not Being Re-Imposed Just Yet As Concern Grows Over Delta Variant
CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.