A basement fire in New York has claimed the lives of two 4-year-old half siblings, reports the Seattle Pi. The incident happened at a two story brick home in the Far Rockaway section of Queens just before midnight on Saturday. The fire snuffed out the lives of a boy, Jai’Launi Tinglin and his half-sister, Ayini Tinglin. Another child, Jai’Launi’s twin sibling, was hospitalized and is now safe. Also rescued from the scene of the fire were the children’s 63-year-old grandfather and a 55-year-old woman – the identity of whom has not been confirmed yet.
As soon as the fire began to spread, people in the area called up the New York Fire Department which responded within minutes. The children were rescued within minutes of the firefighter’s arrival. Rescue workers tried to resuscitate the rescued children as their neighbors watched in agony. Everyone inside the house were rescued and were eventually taken to a nearby hospital. The fire was also bought under control in less than half an hour. One firefighter suffered minor injuries in the midst of the operation and was treated and later discharged. Later, both the four year olds were pronounced dead at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
Meanwhile, The New York Police Department in its preliminary investigation has concluded that the death of both children happened due to smoke inhalation (due to accidental fire). Initially, spokesperson Khalid Baylor of the Fire Department of New York, did point towards the probable cause of the fire to be of accidental nature.
Eyewitness reports from people living in the area talked about an agonizing scene when the grandfather who managed to rush out of the building with one of his grand-kids tried to go back in again to save his other two grandchildren. By that time, the flames had intensified and it was impossible for him to move in.
The News Day has in a report said that the blaze began at the foot of the grandfather’s basement bed, under which the children were playing. The police suspect that one of the children had got hold of a lighter and was playing with it – eventually causing the fire. Their grandfather was sleeping on the bed as the children played along – only to be awoken by the fire, once it started.
The local St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Sunday offered prayers for the children who died in the fire. The accident occurred in an area that had suffered widespread destruction and fires when super storm Sandy hit in 2012.
[Image via Gary Miller/ NY Post]