Fatal fire in Queens

May 27, 2009 2:53:10 PM PDT
A fire in Queens has claimed the life of a woman and critically injured her disabled daughter. New York City fire officials say the blaze was reported on the 10th floor just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. The building is on Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway.

Thanks to a door-to-door warning from police and firefighters, the tenants of the Far Rockaway apartment complex poured out of their homes.

Tragically, Lorna Whyms never escaped the flames that consumed her 10th floor apartment. The 54-year-old died. Her disabled 18-year-old daughter Erica remained in critical condition.

"I really believe that she got killed trying to save her daughter's life because she was burned from head to toe. The daughter came out first and she was burned in the mid-section," said Fred Barnes.

"She would not leave her daughter. Under no circumstances would she have left her daughter," another neighbor, Lisa Harris, added.

It's still unclear what started the fire that broke out in the back bedroom of Whyms' apartment. It took firefighters about 30 minutes to get the flames under control.

"This is a building where if we had a very windy day, we could have had a wind-driven fire. We gave the signal for a possible wind-driven fire as a precaution," Dep. Chief James DiDomenico said.

Police say the victim's live-in boyfriend, 56-year-old Ralph Edwards, suffered smoke inhalation. He is also disabled.

One firefighter and one police officer also suffered minor injuries.

The Carleton Manor is an 11-story city-run apartment complex that houses 170 apartments and 402 residents.


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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