EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — A 5-year-old girl and her father’s girlfriend were killed in a fire that roared through their East Harlem apartment building early Wednesday, authorities said.
The blaze broke out in the building in NYCHA’s Jackie Robinson Houses on East 129th Street near Lexington Avenue around 2:50 a.m., according to the FDNY.
First responders rushed at least three people to area hospitals, including the 5-year-old girl who succumbed to her injuries, officials said. The girlfriend of the girl’s father also died of her injuries, according to authorities. She was 36. Officials did not immediately disclose their identities.
There’s a park just across the street from the building. Neighbors told PIX11 the girl’s father often barbecued there, wanting to make sure his daughter and others in the community had a good time.
Family friend Andrielle Jackson said she saw them on Tuesday. She described the 5-year-old girl as a “very happy” child.
The girl’s 46-year-old father, meanwhile, was hospitalized in what authorities described as critical condition. Friends said he had three dogs that died in the fire.
Authorities took what appeared to be a severely damaged and charred electric scooter out of the apartment after the fire was extinguished. The deadly blaze was sparked by lithium ion batteries from e-Bikes/scooters, FDNY Fire Marshals determined. The fire was confined to the family’s apartment.
There have been a number of fires connected to e-bikes in New York City Housing Authority buildings in recent years. A NYCHA spokesperson said the agency was considering a new policy banning e-bikes and batteries in their buildings.
“This proposed new policy has been extended for public comment until September 6, 2022, at which time NYCHA will review and consider stakeholder feedback before issuing a final policy.”