Early this morning, around 4 a.m., a three-alarm fire broke out in a home in the Port Richmond section of Staten Island. Firefighters were on the scene at 4:13 a.m. and got it under control by 5:48 a.m., but the fire moved too fast and killed a mother and her four children, ages 2, 7, 10 and 14. According to 1010WINS, "Fire officials say it originated on the second floor and quickly spread to the attic and through the roof."
The victims (the mother was identified as Lisa Jones) lived in a second floor apartment; three other families living in the building were able to escape. A police officer who aided in the rescue told the Daily News, "We were able to save three families and about four or five kids. We tried to go back in for the last family but the door was already orange. The ceiling was caving in - we had to get out of there." One of Jones' children was breathing, but died at the hospital; according to the Advance, "Though it initially survived, reports said the child was so burned that firefighters couldn't tell its gender."
The cause of the fire is being investigated; the Post reports, "Neighbors said they heard some commotion coming from the second floor and then a ‘pop’ sound." Fire officials also said they did not see a smoke detector; Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said, "We don't see evidence of a smoke detector. We keep trying to remind people that a simple $10 or $15 could have made a difference to save five lives here."