Mom, 3 daughters 'clinging to life' after morning fire

OZONE PARK, Queens (WABC) -- A mother and her three daughters are "clinging to life" after fire tore through a townhouse in Ozone Park, Queens, early Thursday morning.

The women, who are all listed in critical condition, are lucky to be alive, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, because there were no working smoke alarms in their apartment.

Flames broke out on the third floor of the townhouse on 101st Avenue just before 4:30 a.m.

Neighbors tell Eyewitness News they smelled smoked and were banging on the door to the third floor apartment, but there was no answer.

And there was no sound of smoke alarms going off.

"We did not find a working smoke alarm or a smoke alarm of any kind in the apartment, and that's a critical piece of information for this fire, because these four women were not alerted to this fire, the call came from an adjoining building," Nigro said.

Video recorded just before sunrise showed multiple FDNY firefighting units on the scene.

Firefighters were able to rescue the four women from inside that third floor apartment. All were unconscious.

The women were taken to Jamaica Medical Center in critical condition.

"Because these four women were not alerted to this fire, the call came from an adjoining building," Nigro said. "They were not alerted by a smoke alarm, and that's just very sad."

FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Kevin Brennan told Eyewitness News the building's fire walls did their job, stopping the spread and saving lives.

"This is newer construction, so it's partitioned off with firewalls," Brennan said. "So those walls did hold the fire to that one apartment."

Investigators are working to determine what sparked the blaze, but they do not believe it is suspicious.

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Officials agree that smaller communities that may not have the resources to do lengthy background checks will benefit the most from the Wandering Officers law.

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