Photo by Ellis Kaplan
A fire in Queens Village claimed the lives of three family members.
By Naeisha Rose

A granddaughter died Saturday trying in vain to save her grandparents from a three-alarm fire that destroyed their two-story frame house in Queens Village, police said.

Harleen Maggo escaped the blaze in the house on 211th Street, but ended up dying as she returned to the burning structure to rescue Ragvir Kaur Kainth and Pyara Kainth, her grandparents, the Hindustan Times reported.

Firefighters were able to bring to safety at least eight other relatives of Maggo and the Kainths in the multi-generational Indian family.

Fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire, but have not determined a cause, according to the FDNY. They do not, however, consider the fire to be suspicious at this time.

Maggo, 32, was pronounced dead at Queens Hospital Center, police said. Kaur Kainth, 82, was pronounced dead at Long Island Jewish Hospital, and Kainth, 87, was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital, according to the NYPD.

The two youngest victims, an 8-year-old girl who was in critical condition and a 6-year-old boy who was in stable condition at Nassau County Medical Center, are the children of Maggo, according to the Hindustan Times.

About 140 firefighters came to put out the blaze that was called in at 11:55 p.m. and lasted nearly two hours into Sunday morning, according to Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala, Jr., the citywide overnight fire commander.

“We arrived at the fire in 4 1/2 minutes,” said Gala at a news conference the following morning. “There was a very heavy fire condition in the basement, first and second floor.”

“These homes have too much wood and they catch fire and they spread,” said state Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows).

Among the other casualties, a 53-year-old man and a 56-year-old man were sent to Queens Hospital and police listed the two as in critical condition.

Authorities said a 45-year-old man was taken to Queens Hospital, a 34-year-old man was sent to Jamaica Hospital, and an 18-year-old man was transported to Nassau County Medical Center. Police said all three were listed in stable condition and do not have life-threatening injuries.

Engine 301/Ladder 150, a fire company located in Hollis, also known as the Hollis Hogs, was one of the first fire engines at the scene, according to the NYCFireWire Twitter feed.

The tragedy occurred just mere days after the one-year anniversary of another Queens Village blaze that struck another large family, taking the lives of four minors and a young adult ranging in age from 2 to 20 years ld.

On the April 23 anniversary, loved ones who went to Mount Moriah AME Church in Cambria Heights remembered Melody Edwards, a 17-year-old victim who perished.

Her death and that of the other victims led to several fire safety awareness town halls throughout the southeast Queens region.

At the news conference Sunday, Gala commended the work of the firefighters and mourned the most recent lives that were lost.

“I could not be prouder of the way our members operated to put their lives in harm’s way to rescue trapped civilians. But, unfortunately, while many lives were saved last night, we lost three people,” Gala said.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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