Family pulled from burning apartment in Queens, 2 critical

JACKSON HEIGHTS, Queens (WABC) -- Families raced to escape a burning apartment building in Queens overnight, and several victims had to be rescued. Now, two people are in critical condition.

Fire crews say the fire at the three-story building on 71st Street in Jackson Heights started at midnight. Before they could even get water on the fire, crews rushed to rescue three people who were trapped in bedrooms at the back of the house.

By the time firefighters pulled up to the building, several children had already jumped.

Tyson Basra, 12, jumped with his nephew DaShawn, 7, in his arms.

"It didn't feel so good because I did not land properly. I landed pretty awkwardly. I landed on my back and I had to go to the hospital," Tyson said.

Tyson's sister, Jasmine was still trapped inside, and so was her cousin, Sharon, both 9-years-old and both unresponsive - that is, until firefighters from Ladder 154 battled thick smoke and flames to carry them out.

"Our hearts go out to the families because it was a pretty tough night," said Lieutenant Kevin O'Hare of Ladder 154.

"It's heart-wrenching when you pick up a the lieutenant said, got to focus on the mission, got to keep pushing," added Firefighter Amira Rodriguez.

And firefighters kept pushing twice this morning. Only a few hours later on Case Street in Elmhurst, they rescued another resident from a fire.

In both of the fires, authorities say the smoke detectors were not working, and that should be a wake-up call.

"It's very frustrating because it could save your life - smoke detectors save lives," said FDNY Commander Mark Fernandez.

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