EAST NEW YORK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A three-alarm fire claimed the lives of two women, a mother and her adult daughter, in Brooklyn early Wednesday morning.
The fire broke out in the first floor deli of the building on Belmont Avenue in East New York around 1:30 a.m.
"This type of fire gets into the pipe basins and the voids, so there's a lot of opening up of the walls and ceilings to expose the fire to be able to extinguish it," FDNY Assistant Deputy Fire Chief John Esposito said. "It's just a difficult operation."
A woman in her 60s and her daughter in her 40s were pulled from the third floor of the four-story building. They were rushed to the hospital, where they later died.
Two other people suffered non-life threatening injuries, and a firefighter also suffered a non-life threatening injury.
The American Red Cross is now assisting 45 residents; 31 adults and 14 children.
Officials said the smoke detector was not working.
One boy says his father saved his 7-year-old sister by taking her out on the fire escape.
"I think that he really cares about his family," 13-year-old Rashedul Shoharawardey said. "And he helped us all get out the house, because everything was foggy inside and we couldn't get out on the stairs."
Meantime, the bodega owner, Esteban Luna, said he's only had the business for 14 months and his insurance lapsed.
Luna said that he left around 11 p.m. Tuesday and doesn't know how the fire could have started.
Officials say the cause is believed to be an unattended electrical heater.