The New York City fire commissioner said on Monday that ambulances were not immediately dispatched when they should have been to a Queens fire that killed two 4-year-old children and injured three other people late Saturday night, reports The New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1raEJAc).
Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano said the nature and cause of the delay — a delay that was not unnoticed by frantic neighbors and firefighters at the scene of the midnight fire — had yet to be determined by the Fire Department’s investigators.
“We’re listening to tapes, we’re looking at timelines and at the end of the investigation, we’ll see what actions need to be taken,” Mr. Cassano said at a news conference in Brooklyn.
The commissioner added that he would personally lead the investigation by the department, which oversees the city’s emergency medical workers.
The fire killed the two 4-year-olds, Jai’Launi Tinglin and his half-sister, Aniya, and seriously injured another girl, Jai’Launi’s twin sister. Their grandfather, Delroy Tinglin, 63, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, and a 55-year-old woman was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Both adults were in stable condition Sunday.
Investigators believe the fire began shortly before 11:50 p.m., with one of the children playing with a lighter in a basement bedroom. The first call to 911 came in at 11:51, the police said.
Neighbors described a chaotic scene as firefighters performed CPR on the children in the street and shouted for ambulances, which had yet to arrive.
There was roughly an eight- or nine-minute period between the moment when firefighters arrived at the two-story home on Bay 30th Street in Far Rockaway around 11:56 p.m. and the time ambulances were dispatched, according to an initial timeline provided by the Fire Department on Sunday. The first ambulance arrived at 12:12 a.m.