Students at school in Astoria promote fire safety on heels of devastating loss

Kemberly Richardson Image
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Students at Queens school promote fire safety after devastating loss
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Students at PS 234 in Astoria, Queens are doing their part to raise awareness about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries for Fire Prevention Week. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Students at a school in Queens are doing their part to raise awareness about the dangers of lithium-ion batteries after two of their classmates died in an e-bike fire.

An award was presented to PS 234 in Astoria on Tuesday, an honor that comes on the heels of a devastating loss for everyone at the school.

In April, a fire ripped through a home in the neighborhood. A father and his five kids were inside, but only four people made it out.

A 7-year-old boy and 19-year-old girl were killed.

"We go over fire safety every year for fire safety week, but this hit home because these were two of our former students and since it was two of our former students, we decided we had to do things a little different, we had to really do more," PS 234 Principal Dora Perry said.

Students and teachers at PS/IS 192 in Brooklyn also took things to the next level, reaching out to the FDNY and inviting crews to come to the schools.

"They literally brought in a truck, students were able to get on the truck, able to sense fire, get down," Perry said.

The family in Astoria could not easily get out of their home and were trapped on the second floor.

Investigators discovered an e-bike with a lithium-ion battery connected to an aftermarket charger, blocking the front door.

A 9-year-old student, Markos Karaiskos, said he learned a lot from the FDNY partnership.

"We learned to lay low and keep one hand on the floor and one on the wall," he said.

The group, roughly 70 students, took an oath to continue learning and teaching their families and the community about fire safety. It's a way to honor the siblings killed in the fire.

"I think they've really sort of absorbed the ethos of the FDNY which is to give back to those they've lost," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

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