An 8-year-old girl died in a fire Saturday morning in College Point, according to the FDNY.
The fire started on the top floor of a three-story home at around 7:37 a.m. on 130th Street, the FDNY said.
According to FDNY, a lithium-ion battery from a electric transportation device was the cause of the Saturday morning fire.
Police identified the little girl as Stephanie Villa Torres. Her father and brother were both hospitalized with serious injuries that were not life-threatening, according to the FDNY.
What You Need To Know
- The 8-year-old victim was identified as Stephanie Villa Torres of College Point
- The FDNY says the cause of the fire that broke out around 7:37 a.m. was from a lithium-ion battery from a electric transportation device
- Villa Torres’ father and brother also suffered serious injuries that are not life-threatening, according to the FDNY
Neighbors are using terms like “heartbreaking” and “very, very sad” to describe the tragic situation.
“One of the firemen came out with the little girl and in the middle of the street here they started to give her first aid,” Luis Sanchez said. “The ambulance came shortly afterwards, but it looks like she didn’t make it.”
Stunned neighbors like Sanchez felt gutted after learning the news.
He last saw Villa Torres Wednesday heading to school.
“I would see them going to school,” Sanchez said. “So it’s pretty sad, and then the father, they had him out here. His arms, they were burned. He was like in shock.”
According to the FDNY, the cause of the Queens’ fire was an accident.
However, officials placing blame on a lithium-ion battery from an electric mobility device.
“It’s really heartbreaking hearing that,” said neighbor Kelly Menbreno. “Living here and just hearing that, living right there. It hurts, it really hurts.”
The most recent numbers available from the FDNY show that between Jan. 1 and May 3 of this year, there was a 233% increase in fires caused by e-bikes and the lithium-ion batteries they use, compared to the same time last year.
Similarly on Aug. 3, a 36-year-old woman and a 5-year-old girl died at the Jackie Robinson Houses in East Harlem after a fire broke out. According to the FDNY, lithium-ion batteries for an e-bike or e-scooter caused the August fire.
Luther Linton of College Point believes lawmakers need to adjust regulations that allow electric devices for transportation inside a home in order to avoid more tragedies.
NYCHA is considering a ban on these devices inside public housing.
“Even though a lot of people use it for work,” Linton said. “If it’s going to be causing things like that. It’s not the first time I hear about this type of thing, the cost of life. I don’t think it’s worth it.”
To remember the life of Villa Torres, some neighbors have placed flowers outside her home.