Trapped: At least 9 dead in Ida-flooded basements across Queens

Queens

NEW YORK — Basements often serve as relatively affordable homes in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets, but in Queens it meant a danger zone as rain from Ida flooded New York City.

At least nine people died in flooded Queens basements, officials said Thursday. Across New York and New Jersey, at least 24 died.

Police said officers responded around 10 p.m. to a 911 call for flooding in the basement apartment of a building at the corner of 64th Street and Laurel Hill Boulevard in the Woodside area of Queens.

Responding officers found three family members unconscious and unresponsive, including a 50-year-old man, 48-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy, officials said. They were all pronounced dead at the scene.

Deborah Torres said water rapidly filled the first-floor Queens apartment to her knees as her landlord frantically urged her neighbors below to get out. But the water was rushing in so strongly that she surmised they weren’t able to open the door.

“I have no words,” she said. “How can something like this happen?”

At one Queens development, water filled the sunken patio of a basement apartment, then broke through a glass door and rushed in, trapping a 48-year-old woman in 6 feet of water. Neighbors unsuccessfully tried for an hour to save her.

“She was screaming, ‘Help me, help me, help me!’ We all came to her aid, trying to get her out. But it was so strong – the thrust of the water was so strong,” said the building’s assistant superintendent, Jayson Jordan.

Officials said cops responded at approximately 11:15 p.m. for flooding in a basement apartment on 183rd Street near 90th Avenue, in Jamaica, Queens. Responding officers arrived to find a 43-year-old woman and 22-year-old man, believed to be a mother and her adult son, unresponsive within their home, police said. The man was pronounced dead at the scene while the woman was pronounced dead after being taken to an area hospital.

FDNY units responded to Peck Avenue in Flushing around 11:40 a.m. Thursday for reports of people underwater. A landlord found multiple bodies in a flooded basement. Three storm-related deaths were confirmed.

The chief of the NYPD’s community affairs bureau, Jeffrey Maddrey, said officers were going to door-to-door searching for people trapped or killed.

“We are making sure there are no other victims of a similar nature with the surrounding homes,“ the chief said.

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