An early morning house fire in Brooklyn, New York in December 2013 claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl and critically injured her two older sisters. Jasmine Guillaume, 16, was killed after a fire engulfed the second and third floors of her three story home at 293 East Eighth Street in Kensington. Her sisters, Jaima Jumelle, 24, and Kareen Jumelle, 27, suffered serious injuries from smoke inhalation and burns. According to fire officials, the home did not have any smoke detectors at the time of the fire. Speaking about the lack of detectors in the home, Firefighter Thomas Bradley, who rescued one of the women, said, “They would have gotten a much earlier warning.”
When firefighters responded to the early morning blaze, they used ladders to enter the top floors of the building. They were blinded by smoke as they searched multiple rooms and hallways for the trapped women. Bradley said, “There was zero visibility the whole time.” Eventually, the firefighters found all three of the women unconscious in the third floor bathroom. Firefighters, including Bradley, carried the women outside, where emergency workers immediately began performing CPR on the injured women. Neighbor Folashade Butts, 20, said, “They started pumping on one woman’s chest the second they got her out of the building. Guillaume was rushed to Maimonides Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. Her sisters were taken to two separate hospitals and were both listed in critical condition.
Guillaume was one of four people killed in a rash of fires that broke out in the city in December 2013. In a fire that broke out in Fordham Manor in the Bronx, two men ages 49 and 44 were killed. The fire was caused by cigarettes, and officials stated that there were no working smoke alarms in the building. In another fire at a retirement home in Flushing, Queens, a 73-year-old woman was killed; cigarettes also caused that fire. Another fire erupted in the Williamsbridge section of the Bronx where four people were injured, two of them critically.
According to fire officials, the number of fires increases significantly during the winter months. One reason for the increase has to do with the fact that people use old space heaters in their homes. These space heaters are often unsafe and can cause fires. Another reason for the increase in fires is related to the fact that people light candles for the holidays. In some cases, people leave these burning candles unattended, which cause accidental fires.
According to fire officials, 62 people died in fires in 2013 in New York City. Of those 62 people, 44 of them did in fires in buildings that did not have smoke detectors.
Website Resource: Brooklyn house fire kills teen, leaves her two sisters in critical condition, NY Daily News, Denis Slattery , Joe Stepansky and Larry Mcshane, December 20, 2013
Brooklyn Fire Kills Girl, 16, and Critically Injures Two, NY Times, Michael Schwirtz, December 20, 2013