NBC 4 New York
Investigators said they believe one of the children may have been playing with a lighter when the fire started. Sheldon Dutes reports.
A brother and sister, both 4 years old, died Sunday after a fire erupted in a Far Rockaway home that may have been sparked by one of them playing with a lighter, officials said.
The blaze began in the basement of the home on Bay 30th Street just before midnight.
Within minutes of police and firefighters arriving, the children were carried outside and rescue workers tried to resuscitate them as neighbors watched. They were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Officials said the children, half-siblings, died of smoke inhalation. Authorities have identified the boy as Jai'Launi Tinglin and the girl as Ayini Tinglin.
Another 4-year-old girl, Jai'Launi's twin, along with a 55-year-old aunt and their 63-year-old grandfather, were also inside the home at the time. They were taken to hospitals, were listed in stable condition.
A firefighter who suffered a minor injury was treated and released from a hospital.
One of the aunt's coworkers said the family is devastated.
"It's a very close-knit family, they are really upset, just trying to put the pieces together and figure out what the next step is going to be," said Joseph Ferramosca.
Authorities said there were no working smoke detectors in the home.
At St. Patrick's Cathedral on Sunday, Cardinal Timothy Dolan offered prayers for the children who died in the fire.
"We hold up to the Lord the needs of those for whom this Easter Sunday morning might still seem like the darkness of Good Friday. We think of that family that lost those two little children in the fire last night here in New York," Dolan said.