Firefighters at the East Elmhurst house (FDNY)
A dispute between a tenant and homeowner may have led to a Wednesday afternoon fire in a Queens home that left three dead, including a six-year-old girl. The FDNY is investigating the blaze and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said, “It’s quite unusual at that time in the afternoon to have a fire trap five occupants in a private dwelling.”
Just before 4:15 p.m., the fire department and NYPD responded to a 911 call about a fire that broke out at 23-49 93rd Street in East Elmhurst. Firefighters removed a 76-year-old man, a 35-year-old woman, a 23-year-old man, a 6-year-old girl, and a 10-month-old baby boy from the house. The 23-year-old man and girl were pronounced dead at the scene. The 76-year-old man was pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian Hospital- Queens, while the 35-year-old woman and baby are at Cornell Hospital in critical condition.
The home’s owner, Raffalina Morena, said that the 35-year-old woman is her sister, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and the baby, Liam Dominguez, is Rodriguez’s son. The mother and son reportedly suffered burns to 70 percent of their bodies.
Rodriguez’s father, Claudio Rodriguez, and daughter, Emma Dominguez, died, while the 23-year-old victim was David Abreu Nunez, a tenant in the house. According to WABC 7, Nunez “became violent Wednesday, throwing gasoline in the kitchen to set off the deadly chain of events… The homeowner took the man in because he had nowhere else to stay, but he became ‘increasingly agitated and weird,’ and he fought with the homeowner’s family earlier in the day, one FDNY source said.”
A source said an “accelerant was used to start and fuel the fire in the second-floor kitchen,” WCBS 2 reports.
Morena said outside the home, ““Don’t help anybody. I tried to help somebody and look how they repaid me. They burned my home.”