16-year-old girl killed, 4 others hurt when fire breaks out in apartment complex in Queens

ST. ALBANS, Queens (WABC) -- A 16-year-old girl was killed and four other people injured in a fire Wednesday night at an apartment complex in Queens.

The fire began just after 8:30 p.m. in a second-floor apartment in the complex on Merrick Boulevard near Ursina Road in St. Albans.

The girl's mother came home to find the apartment full of smoke.

Residents rushed out of their homes smelling smoke and hearing people screaming in the hallway, according to witnesses.

The fire was out within 30 minutes, but clutter inside the apartment made it more difficult for firefighters to search through the home.

The girl has been identified as Lamonies Smith. Her 56-year-old mother and a 76-year-old neighbor were hospitalized in serious condition. Two firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Building residents say Smith's death is especially tragic because of the bond with her mother. They said the 16-year-old had lived in the Merrick Boulevard apartment since birth.

"They're always together," said Ken Wilson, a neighbor.

The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental from an unattended candle. No smoke alarm was present.

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