New York Daily News
A fast-moving blaze turned a joyous wedding party at a Queens home into a grim disaster Sunday, injuring nearly two dozen people, including a 2-year-old girl who was in critical condition.
The blaze broke out about 7:45 a.m. on the second floor of a single-family home on Hampton St. near Elmhurst Ave. in Elmhurst, the FDNY said.
Guests who attended the nuptials and partying the night before climbed out of windows to escape the flames and smoke, and piled into an emergency vehicle to breathe oxygen through masks.
Medics took the victims to Elmhurst Hospital and Nassau University Medical Center, police said.
The toddler, who was the newlyweds’ niece, was in critical but stable condition Sunday afternoon.
The bride and groom’s own five-month-old daughter was also among the 22 injured, which included one firefighter. The newlyweds’ baby girl was hospitalized and is recovering, family members said.
“It’s a weird feeling, being here last night, partying and then coming back and seeing everything blown up,” said Jefferson Altamirano, 16, the bride’s brother.
Neighbor Sandra Alvarez, 40, described people desperate to escape the top floor.
“I saw the people going out from the attic,” she said. “It was terrible…A lot of smoke.”
It took 60 firefighters about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.
“The kids were scared,” Alvarez said. “They had smoke on their faces.”
The cause of the blaze was under investigation, but the newlyweds’ family suspect it started on a kitchen stove.
“We had family from New Jersey and Ecuador, and they were on the third floor,” Altamirano said. “I’m at a loss for words because it was just their wedding and we were all having the time of our life.”
More wedding festivities had been scheduled for Sunday until the blaze shut those plans down.
The newlyweds’ turn of fortune was chronicled in a series of Instagram posts last night and Sunday morning. In the posts, the happy couple exchange vows, and as the bride holds her daughter, they kiss.
Then, the videos of revelry change to people illuminated by emergency lights, several men wearing oxygen masks, and a view from a hospital bed.
“Everyone is in the shock,” said Cesar Farjado, the father of the groom. “My grandbaby is in the hospital in the city right now.”
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