Elderly woman dies, several rescued in Queens apartment fire

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- An elderly woman died and several people were hurt after flames tore through an apartment building in Queens late Wednesday night.

Crews rushed to the scene on 91st Avenue in Jamaica around 11 p.m. and had to rescue three people from the billowing smoke and flames. One resident to said he jumped from the window.

They found an 84-year-old woman in the first-floor apartment, unconscious and unresponsive, and transported her to the hospital.

The woman, identified as Ruth Andrade, was pronounced dead.

A man allegedly living in an illegally converted basement, 85-year-old Fernando Diaz, was also rushed to the hospital in stable condition.

Five others were injured and were also hospitalized.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but the FDNY believes it originated in that first-floor apartment that belonged to the woman.

The fire left extensive damage on the wood-framed building, leaving fire officials to call the integrity of the structure into question. The building was cited for the illegally converted basement apartment and has a history of complaints about unauthorized apartment subdivisions.

Sources also told Eyewitness News they observed an unusual number of mattresses in the structure.

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