Flushing mother, teen critically hurt in house fire

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A mother and her teenage son were critically injured early Friday morning when a fire swept a three-story house directly behind a gas station on 64th Avenue in Flushing.

The fire broke out at about 1 a.m. Friday morning and it took more than 100 firefighters to stop the two-alarm blaze that gutted the brick house and shook the quiet neighborhood a half a block from Queens College.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation Tuesday, Fireman Robert Calise said.

The mother was taken to the Cornell Burn Center in Manhattan and her son was transported to New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens for treatment, the Fire Department said. Four firefighters also sustained minor injuries in the blaze.

The owner of the house, Jack Brawer, who is the father and grandfather of the victims said he saw them on the third floor of the building trying to escape the fire. The names of the victims were not released by the FDNY.

“I told them don’t move, don’t try to come down because you’re going to be burned,” said Brawer after the fire. His daughter and grandson had been visiting him at the time of the fire, neighbors said.

Wendy Wang, a neighbor who lives a few doors away from the site of the blaze, said she heard the cries of help from the family inside.

“First I just heard a woman screaming,” Wang said Friday afternoon. “And then I heard ‘fire!’”

Wang and other residents of the block said the blaze moved quickly throughout the brick home, gutting the building. Flames came dangerously close to the nearby gas station, Wang said.

“It was moving so fast,” she said.

All of the windows in front and back of the house were broken after the fire and the charred front door was left open Friday afternoon, revealing a blackened and waterlogged interior. Burnt and unusable items from the home were strewn across the sidewalk in front of the building, including shoes, clothes and books.

One neighbor said the smoke from the blaze was overpowering.

“There was so much smoke,” Amy Li said. “All the people were up on the third floor.”

One woman who declined to give her name said the family had lived on the block for more than 30 years.

She described Brawer as “a very nice man, a longtime resident.”

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.

Posted 7:22 pm, October 10, 2011
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