What caused EMS delay to Queens fire that killed two 4-year-olds?

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FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (PIX11) — Three four-year-olds, playing with a lighter in the grandfather’s basement.

The resulting fire ultimately turned fatal, with two of the three children perishing in the flames and once again there are questions about the emergency ambulance response time to this corner of the city in Far Rockaway, Queens.

Following the first 911 call about the fire at 11:51pm Saturday, records show the first firefighters arrived on the scene on Bay 30th street five minutes later, at 11:56pm.

This is the first potential trouble spot in the response timeline, because almost ten minutes went by before the Fire Department notified EMS that an ambulance needs to be dispatched to the scene.


EMS arrived to the scene 16 minutes after the original 9-11 call.

“We’re looking at the timeline and the delay of an ambulance being dispatched, and why it happened. I’m leading the investigation, and we’re listening to tapes, and looking at timelines, and at the end of the investigation we’ll see what action needs to be taken and what needs to be done,” said FDNY Interim Commissioner Sal Cassano.

The second area of concern on the timeline: the sixteen minutes that elapsed from the time when EMS dispatched the ambulance, to the moment when the ambulance arrived on the scene.

Once the EMS crew fought its way through the chaos to get to children, they took control of the situation and transported them to an area hospital

But, for two of the three young victims, it was already too late.

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