3 members of the same family killed in fast-moving Queens fire

Sunday, June 19, 2022
3 members of the same family killed in fast-moving Queens fire
Three members of the same family were killed in a fast-moving fire in South Richmond Hill. Naveen Dhaliwal has the latest developments.

SOUTH RICHMOND HILL, Queens (WABC) -- Three members of the same family were killed in a fast-moving fire in Queens on Friday.

Crews were still on the scene of the fire on 104-18 125th Street in South Richmond Hill on Saturday. Family members say a couple and their 22-year-old son passed away in the home as the intense flames took over.

Nandaraj Persaud, 59, his wife Bibi Salima, 53, and his 22-year-old son, Devon were all trapped inside the home and did not make it out alive. They lived in the basement of the home.

The grief has been unbearable for the family.

"I'm just so sad what happened, he was a good brother. It's very sad," said Nandaraj's sister, Mohani Persaud.

Mayor Adams surveyed the fire scene on Saturday and made a surprise visit to the family.

"The city is mourning when you lose family members like that," Adams said.

His presence and comforting words to the victims' son were welcomed.

"It certainly sent a positive note to all and it shows his thoughts and concerns are here," said Pandit Ram Hardowar of the Federation of Hindu Mandirs.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 2 p.m. Friday - they say the fire spread quickly, engulfing the house and spreading to the neighboring homes on both sides. They say because of the windy conditions on Friday afternoon, the flames also jumped to homes across the street.

Residents scrambled to get out as more than 200 firefighters and EMS workers battled the fire to get it under control.

Most of the people inside were able to make it out safe, but the FDNY confirms that three people lost their lives - adding so much heartbreak and shock to the community that is predominately Guyanese.

In the tightknit community with so many hurting, so many are also coming together.

"This is a tremendous disaster, and in our community we are here to join and support solidarity, and give what ever help we can," added Hardowar.

Crews boarded up the charred homes on Saturday, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help victims' family pay for funeral expenses.

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