Forum Photo by Richard York
The three-alarm blaze broke out in the two-family home on 208th Street around 2:30 p.m.
By Michael V. Cusenza
A fast-moving fire on Sunday claimed the lives of five young people – including a 2-year-old and a 10-year-old – who were trapped inside a doomed Queens Village home with no smoke detectors.
The blaze broke out inside the home on 208th Street near 112th Avenue around 2:30 p.m. According to authorities, all five victims – Chayce Lipford, 2; Rashawn Matthews, 10; Jada Foxworth, 16; Melody Edwards, 17; and Destiny Dones, 20 – were already dead when firefighters removed them from the house.
“The firefighters ran in that house with all the smoke and flames,” a witness told the New York Daily News. “They were doing what they were supposed to do and I thought to myself, ‘These guys are so brave to do this.’”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said, “This is a very, very sad day for people here in Queens Village. I’ve talked to some of the folks on the block just now – incredibly difficult moment for people on this block to see a family literally destroyed before their very eyes. This is a very, very painful day.”
As of Wednesday, no cause of the fire had been made public. All five funerals for the victims are scheduled to take place on May 6.
“Five precious young lives are suddenly no longer with us, and their families and friends must now summon the courage to face this painful reality,” said City Councilman I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans). “As the details of this devastating event emerge, I encourage all of my constituents to, first and foremost, hug your loved ones a little tighter today, and then have a frank conversation with them about fire safety procedures. My office will work with the Fire Department and the Red Cross to share educational information to everyone in our district through door to door outreach, email and social media communications, and an upcoming community town hall.
“Lastly, I remain eternally grateful to our city’s emergency responders for their tireless efforts to keep our community safe. Their contributions literally mean the difference between life and death. Residents should take every opportunity to show their appreciation to these exceptional men and women.”