Family of five killed in Staten Island, NY house fire

Friday, July 23, 2010

Five people were killed early Thursday morning in a three-alarm fire in the New York City borough of Staten Island. The fire destroyed most of the home in the Port Richmond neighborhood. The five killed are 33-year-old Leisha Jones and her four children.

Neighbors said that the fire began at approximately 4 a.m. local time (0800 UTC). Two New York Police Department officers noticed the fire and radioed for assistance at 4:10 a.m. Rescue workers attempted to enter the building although they were deterred by heavy flames and smoke. Once flames were doused with water, Fire Lieutenant Robert Strafer entered the building and found the youngest child, two-year-old Jermaine Sinclair. Upon further inspection, officers found the other four victims.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud popping sound before the building burst into flames. The cause of the fire is currently unknown, although it is not considered suspicious. The apartment which Jones and her children were living in did not have a smoke detector, as required by city law.

Jones's mother, Martha Anderson, told the New York Daily News, "She was such a nice person and she was a really good mother," adding, "She loved her kids ... and I loved her."