May 9, 2023 | 9:24 am
A woman and a 17-year-old girl were killed and three other children were seriously injured when a fire ripped through a Brooklyn house early Tuesday, prompting a homicide investigation, law enforcement officials and sources said.
The fire broke out at the three-story home on Fountain Avenue near Liberty Avenue in Cypress Hills around 2:15 a.m., authorities said.
The 36-year-old woman was found inside the home and pronounced dead at the scene, cops and sources said.
The teenager was rushed to Brookdale University Hospital Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead, police said.
Two other girls, ages 10 and 14, and a 9-year-old boy were taken to the same hospital, each in serious or critical condition, cops said.
A man, also of unknown age, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where he was listed in stable condition.
An accelerant was found at the scene and the fire is being investigated as a homicide, sources said. The official cause remained under investigation later this morning.
All six victims are believed to be related, but that has yet to be officially confirmed, cops said.
A dozen FDNY units, including 60 firefighters and EMS personnel, responded.
“We had a very heavy fire at the front door that went up the stairs to the third floor, into the second floor apartment and out through those front windows,” FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Charles Downey told reporters early Tuesday. “So we lit the windows on the second floor as well.”
The fire was brought under control in about an hour, fire officials said.
Neighbor Jennifer Sule, who has lived in the block for more than 10 years, described the inferno as “explosive”.
“I was asleep but I woke up to the fire trucks and the windows exploding,” Sule said. “It was explosive. It was big – flames came out. There were flames coming out of the windows – that’s why there’s smoke on the sides.”
Sule said she remembers seeing the older victim “almost every day.”
“She goes across the block, picks up the kids,” she said. “The children were playing outside and drawing games on the ground. I would see them every day.”
“She has always been a nice lady to me. The older one (17) always looked after a child when they worked.’
The family owned a deli at the corner of Liberty and Fountain avenues, according to neighbors, who added that they otherwise mostly stayed alone.
If foul play is found to be involved, “we just want to make sure justice is served,” Sule said.
“It’s about the kids,” she added. “We want the kids to get better. It may be too late for [mother] and the boy will be fine – now it’s the kids. Pray for the children.”
Another local man, who declined to be named, said “the neighbors here seem to think someone bombed [the home].”
“I’ve been in this neighborhood for over ten years and I’ve seen this neighborhood change and go,” he added. “But this family was nice to me when I went to their shop there. They treated me with respect.”
“A 17-year-old lost his life,” the neighbor said. “What is this—12th grade? It just disappeared.”
Another fatal fire broke out in a Bronx building hours later, according to fire and police officials.
The fire broke out on the third floor of the five-story building on Grant Avenue near East 165th Street in Concourse Village around 7:35 a.m., the FDNY said.
A 70-year-old woman was found unconscious and unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
A dozen FDNY units responded and the fire was under control in less than an hour.
The cause remains under investigation.