Toddler dies in house fire in Jamaica, Queens

Monday, May 15, 2023
Toddler killed in house fire in Jamaica, Queens
The child's mother rushed into the raging flames and tried to save him, but she was met by a wall of fire. Derick Waller reports.

JAMAICA, Queens (WABC) -- A toddler was killed in a house fire Sunday night in Jamaica, Queens.

Officials say flames broke out in the attic of the single-family home on 106th Avenue at around 11 p.m.

Cell phone video shows firefighters battling the blaze overnight, with raging flames shooting from the attic.

Authorities say the 2-year-old boy was found on the second floor of the home and was transported to the Cohen Children's Medical Center at Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The NYPD identified the two and a half-year-old as Jason Eli.

The family of the toddler said they have no idea how the fire started.

Jason's grandmother said his mother ran into the raging fire and pulled her oldest son to safety, but when she went back in to save her youngest, she couldn't get through the wall of fire.

"It was too much smoke, it was too much," grandmother Joyann Lewis Kelly said.

Neighbors packed the street, visibly upset by the tragedy.

"The frames are mostly wood and they go up like a cinder real quick," said neighbor Edward Farrell.

The Red Cross offered to help the family with a temporary place to stay, but that is not what is on their minds.

"If the house is burned down and Jason was around right now, we'd be happy," grandfather Delbert Kelly said. "We'd be happy. He's just two years old and we lose him. The house could build back, but Jason can't come back."

Investigators are working to determine how the fire started and how the baby was tragically trapped inside.

Inspectors with the Department of Buildings said the single family home had been illegally converted into a multiple dwelling and as a result, the DOB issued a full vacate order for the entire house.

Officials also issued five violations to the property owner.


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