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A woman and her two sons died when the top story of a two-family home in Rosedale collapsed during a fire.
The three-alarm blaze broke out at around 5 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30 inside of 262-16 149th Road.
Renee Chong, a Correction Department captain, and her two sons, identified by neighbors as Elliot, 10, and Noah, 5, died in the fire.
The family lived on the second floor of the house, done in white siding, located at the center of the quiet block.
The medical examiner has yet to officially identify the victims.
Sepia Villas, a neighbor, said she awoke to the sounds of another resident pounding on Chong’s door. She said that when she went downstairs in her own home, she could smell the smoke from the adjoining house.
She then called 9-1-1. Villas said that her husband tried to break a window in the back of Chong’s house to see if he could spot her, but to no avail.
“I was hoping they weren’t in there,” Villas said. “I was hoping that they were away . . .”
But, Villas told The Courier Sun, she feared the worst when she saw Chong’s car still in her driveway.
The Fire Department had the blaze under control by 6:20 a.m., but the three victims were pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Villas said she knew Chong in a “neighborly way.” She said her two children used to play with Chong’s children and they got along well because they were around the same age.
Chong who was in her early 40s, was getting ready to retire, according to neighbors.
Villas described Tuesday’s events as “just awful.”
“It really makes you think,” she said. “Tomorrow is not promised.”

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