NEW INFO: Cops release ID of five young victims of Queens Village fire as investigation continues

Photos via Twitter/@NYCMayor and @FDNY

UPDATED April 26, 2 p.m.

There’s still no word about what caused the three-alarm fire at a Queens Village home on Sunday afternoon that claimed the lives of five residents, none of whom was more than 20 years of age.

Fire marshals are still on the scene investigating the tragic tempest that broke out at around 2:36 p.m. on April 23 inside a home on 208th Street between 112th and 113th avenues.

Police identified four of the victims as family members Destiny Dones, 20; Jada Foxworth, 16; Rashawn Matthews, 10; and Chayce Lipford, 2. A fifth victim, Melody Edwards, 17, was Foxworth’s friend.

Dones and Matthews were pronounced dead at the scene; the other three victims died shortly after arriving at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and Jamaica Hospital.

Nigro stated that “this fire moved so quickly” that firefighters put out a second alarm for additional units upon arriving at the scene, approximately 4 minutes after a passing motorist called 911 after seeing flames shoot out of the home.

“[The firefighters] made a very daring and valiant push into that building to try and save the residents,” Nigro said on Monday. “They knew there were people inside, and we know that the firefighters on the scene did all that they could and more to try and save these children. Unfortunately, all of the people the firefighters were able to bring out perished.”

According to reports, the fire is believed to have broken out on the first floor. While the cause remains unknown, investigators have ruled out foul play.

Nigro and Mayor Bill de Blasio were on the scene in Queens Village on Sunday afternoon, days after they mourned the loss of a firefighter who died while battling a Ridgewood building.


“Our hearts go out to this family. I’m asking all New Yorkers to keep this family in your prayers,” de Blasio said on April 23. “It bears saying at this moment — the FDNY is going through a lot this week having lost their brother, Firefighter William Tolley just days ago, but still the good men and women of the FDNY are doing what they do best — saving lives, protecting people, protecting neighborhoods. They came out in full force even in their moment of pain.”

Scores of firefighters worked several hours to bring the fire under control, encountering heavy smoke and flames along the way that hindered rescue efforts.


“People were screaming, ‘Get them out.’ The whole sky was black,” neighbor Denise Coleman told the New York Daily News. “There was a lot of smoke. The fire was very bad. The firefighters carried some of the children out. They were limp. The whole house was on fire.”


Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference near the scene of the fire.

WABC-TV reported that a man apparently leaped out of a second-floor window and is recovering. Flames also damaged an adjacent dwelling.

Firefighters brought the blaze under control at about 6 p.m. The investigation is ongoing.

“Our job now is to get down to the bottom of what happened and do everything we can to make sure that no family ever suffers like this again,” de Blasio said in a tweet.

On Monday, Nigro said that fire marshals were at the scene all night, and would continue to be there until they figure out what led to this tragedy.

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