Fatal Blaze Takes Teen

The tragic fire that killed one 14-year-old girl and left three others injured on Sunday was started by a mentally ill housemate who was high on crack.
On March 2, Ok Ki Gang, 27, was charged with first-degree arson, second-degree murder, reckless endangerment and three counts of assault for allegedly setting fire to the illegally-converted duplex on 215th Street in Bay Terrace in which she was a renter. She had only been living in the house for a single day.
The three Korean moms who shared the residence with their four children, Hana Yoo, 14, Minaa Yoo, 11, Winnie Chung, 11, and Gong Joo Paik, 15, may have considered the new tenant a godsend. They hired Gang to care for the children while the trio worked in nail salons during the day and as waitresses at night.
But in the early morning hours of February 29, Gang, who was high on drugs, used a lit towel to set fire to the couch that doubled as her bed on the ground level, then moved down to the basement, where she used a cigarette lighter to set curtains ablaze. Once the fire erupted, Gang woke Gong Joo (who slept in the basement), yelling that there was a fire and the two ran outside. Before Gang could re-enter the house to reach the three other girls who were sleeping in a room on the second floor, the smoke became too thick. The house had no smoke detectors.
"We were just trying to concentrate on getting out," said Gong Joo.
When firefighters arrived, they pulled the other three girls from the burning building. They were too late to save Hana, who died on the way to the hospital just as the fire was being brought under control at around 3:30 a.m. Sixth-grader Minaa was brought to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx suffering from smoke inhalation. She is slowly recovering. Winnie, who is also in sixth grade, was treated and released from Flushing Hospital.
On March 1, Hanas mother and the other residents of the house were stuffing anything they could salvage into their cars. Yoo pored over boxes of photographs of her daughter, who was an honor student at Intermediate School 25 and a singer at Sung Moon Church. Gong Joo and Hana rehearsed together for an upcoming Sunday service choir performance the day before the fire.
"Im just feeling really sad because my best friend died," she said.
At a police interrogation late Sunday, Gang told detectives that she started the fire because she thought she saw burglars in the house. If convicted, she will face 25 years to life in prison.

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