A 7-year-old boy died in a house fire in Queens Wednesday morning that started in a fireplace and spread to furnishings and Christmas decorations, officials said.
Christopher Miller was found dead at the bottom of the stairs in the East Elmhurst house, police said. He had been attempting to flee the blaze.
"He was on his way out, he just couldn't make it," said FDNY Deputy Chief Mark Ferran. "There was too much smoke at that time. He was overcome. There was just so much fire when we got here."
The fire started after two teenagers who live in the house came back from a New Year's Eve party and started a fire in the fireplace to keep warm at around 5 a.m., according to Ferran. The teens fell asleep and the fire blazed through the house a few hours later.
There was no spark screen or working smoke alarm in the home, the FDNY said.
Neighbors rushed to the burning home, but it was too hot.
"I went there and I banged on the door, and I opened the front door -- it was already open," said Marie Bouzy. "I heard voice, like children's voices, inside."
The teens, a grandfather and Christopher's 12-year-old brother made it out alive. The 12-year-old has burns on his hands and arms and is being treated at the hospital.
Firefighters said the boy's mother was hysterical with grief when she arrived home to learn what happened. A family friend on the scene was still in shock, saying, "I can't believe it. Oh, my God."