Pregnant mother, son killed in SE Queens fire

Linda Anderson. Photo courtesy Rondel Hayes
By Ivan Pereira

A young mother who was seven months pregnant and her 2-year-old son were killed Tuesday morning in a small fire in Springfield Gardens that investigators said was suspicious

Linda Anderson, 24, was found dead on the second floor of her two-family attached home on Anderson Road and 180th Street around 4:30 a.m., police said. Her son, Ayden Hayes, was rushed to Queens Hospital Center but died at the medical center, according to authorities.

Neighbors on the block said they were stunned by the blaze, which appeared only to have damaged the second floor.

“I don’t even know how exactly it happened,” said Asia Shaw, 29, who lived on the first floor of the house with her son and mother. “The firefighters woke me up and we ran out. It was just a lot of chaos, a lot of firefighters, EMTs.”

An FDNY spokesman said the agency received a call from an anonymous person around 4:30 a.m. who gave almost no relevant information about the blaze.

“The caller said there is a fire in the house and hung up,” the spokesman said.

Firefighters were able to trace the call to the street where Anderson’s home was located within four minutes of the call and put the fire out within 45 minutes, the spokesman said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation as of press time Tuesday, but homicide detectives and arson specialists spent the entire morning combing the scene of the blaze they claimed was suspicious.

No suspects had been named or arrested as of press time Tuesday afternoon.

Anderson was seven months pregnant with her second son, who had a different father than Ayden, and was looking forward to the new arrival, according to Shaw’s mother. Anderson showed off a photo of a recent sonogram of her unborn son to everyone in the house three weeks ago, according to the elder Shaw.

“She wanted a little boy and Ayden would have had a little brother,” she said.

Ayden’s father, Rondel Hayes, came to the house after getting a text from his sister. He was too shaken up to talk to reporters.

Shaw’s mother said she never met the father of the unborn baby nor did Anderson talk that much about him. The young mother was very fond of her toddler, according to Shaw.

Anderson was always seen walking down the block with the boy or playing in the yard. Although the mother and child had just moved into the neighborhood last year, they were well liked by residents, Shaw’s mother said.

“To see that baby stroller in the yard and know that the baby is never going to come back, it’s sad,” she said as police were going through items from the home.

This was the third major fire to take place in the borough within a week. On July 7, firefighters fought two separate five-alarm fires at the Bay Terrace apartment complex and at an apartment building in Rego Park.

No one was killed in those incidents.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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