EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Two people died and five others, including three children, were injured after a Brooklyn building was set on fire Tuesday, authorities said.
The blaze broke out in the three-story brick home at 136 Fountain Ave. in East New York at around 2:15 a.m., according to the FDNY. An accelerant was found in a doorway in the hall, prompting an arson investigation, police said. Fire marshals also said the fire was suspicious.
A 36-year-old pregnant woman died at the scene, and a 17-year-old girl died at the hospital, police said. Two other girls, ages 14 and 10, and a 9-year-old boy were rushed to the hospital in critical condition, police said. A man was also injured and is in stable condition. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.
“I heard screaming and my dad saw the fire breaking out, so we all just left,” said a witness at the scene.
The victims are family members who occupied two floors of the building, according to the landlord. Neighbors said a relative of the family owned a deli on Liberty Avenue, down the block from their home.
“They are very community oriented. They help out the community. They own this store. It’s surprising to me. I would never know of anyone who would want to harm them,” said neighbor Vanessa Dudley Tucker.
The flames started on the first floor before spreading to the stairwells and an apartment on the third floor, officials said.
“We had very heavy fire at the front door which extended up the staircase to the third floor and came out the front windows,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Chuck Downey.
Additionally, a vehicle was parked in front of a fire hydrant at the scene, which made it more difficult for firefighters to battle the fire, officials said.