GRYMES HILL, Staten Island (PIX11) — Two young children were killed and two more suffered life-threatening injuries in a Staten Island house fire Friday morning, officials said.
A 5-year-old girl was pronounced dead at the scene and a boy, 6, died at an area hospital after the blaze broke out in a three-story private home on Van Duzer Street near Richmond Road around 10:20 a.m., authorities said.
Two more boys, 5 and 10, were hospitalized in critical condition with what officials described as life-threatening injuries. Two teenagers were also hospitalized in stable condition with minor injuries, according to Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. All the victims are siblings, officials said.
The children were trapped on the second floor of the home, Kavanagh said. There were no adults in the home at the time of the fire, and the oldest sibling inside was 14 years old, officials said. The children’s mother arrived at the hospital in shock, according to Kavanagh.
“This is an incredible tragedy,” Kavanagh said. “We feel it as New Yorkers. Our members, of course, are parents themselves. This is right before Christmas.”
Xavier Vanable, who lives in the home and is the older brother of the victims, was at work when the fire broke out.
“They were joyful at heart and they always played around. They really loved school and I wanted them to be all the best they could be,” Vanable said.
Vanable is devastated with the loss of his siblings. He said his family was getting ready for the holiday.
“We had a big dinner and we had presents in the basement. I don’t know if it’s still there,” Vanable said.
The Red Cross will be assisting the family.
The FDNY arrived on scene within three minutes after the initial 911 call, with 60 firefighters across 12 units ultimately responding, a department spokesperson said.
“The entire second floor was engulfed in flames, so much so that the fire head was coming down the stairs, which is very rare,” Chief of Department John Hodgens said. “They had to get a hoseline in there quickly. Once they started to move in the hoseline, they quickly extinguished the fire.”
The fire was under control by 11:18 a.m., according to a tweet from the FDNY’s official automated alert system. One firefighter also sustained minor injuries battling the fire, officials said.
Fire marshals are working to determine the cause of the deadly blaze.