FDNY Suspends 4 for Delayed Response to Far Rockaway Fire That Killed Kids

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    Two children died of smoke inhalation after a fire erupted in a Far Rockaway home. Sheldon Dutes reports (Published Friday, April 25, 2014)

    The FDNY on Friday said it has suspended a supervisor and three dispatchers for mishandling the emergency response to a fire in Far Rockaway last weekend that killed two 4-year-old children, authorities say.

    The fire began in the basement of the home on Bay 30th Street just before midnight Sunday. Within minutes of police and firefighters arriving, Jai'Launi Tinglin and Ayini Tinglin, were carried outside and rescue workers tried to resuscitate them as neighbors watched. 

    Response Time Questioned in Deadly Queens Fire Probe

    [NY] Response Time Questioned in Deadly Queens Fire Probe
    Officials are looking into whether EMS took too long to get to a Far Rockaway fre that killed two children. Sheldon Dutes reports. (Published Monday, April 21, 2014)

    The children, half-siblings, died of smoke inhalation. 

    The Department of Investigation said Friday that a review had found the first 911 call was received at 11:51 p.m. At 11:57 p.m., FDNY was on scene and reported that there was an active fire. Fire alarm dispatchers did not notify EMS, as required.

    4-Year-Old Siblings Killed in Far Rockaway House Fire

    [NY] 4-Year-Old Siblings Killed in Far Rockaway House Fire
    Investigators said they believe one of the children may have been playing with a lighter when the fire started. Sheldon Dutes reports. (Published Monday, April 21, 2014)

    The first notification to EMS wasn't made until 12:04 a.m., 13 minutes after the initial 911 call, and nearly seven minutes after fire was confirmed at the scene.

    DOI said two dispatchers also were not at their screens just before this call, adding that their supervisor "failed to ensure proper coverage" and failed to supervise the response by the dispatchers who were handling it.

    The review also found that personnel records showed some of the dispatchers involved in the mishandling had prior disciplinary issues, including problems handling fire incidents. 

    The dispatchers were suspended 30 days without pay, FDNY said.

    Mayor de Blasio said the disciplinary actions were "appropriate," and added in a statement, "We await the final results of the completed investigation, and stand ready to quickly and aggressively implement reforms needed to prevent something like this from happening again."

    The day after the fire, a neighbor, Ronda Clarke, told the New York Times that firefighters could be heard wondering aloud when the EMTs would arrive.

    "They were very upset," Clarke said. "They were saying, 'Where is EMS?'"

    Another 4-year-old girl, Jai'Launi's twin, along with a 55-year-old aunt and their 63-year-old grandfather, were also inside the home at the time. They were taken to hospitals, and were listed in stable condition.

    A firefighter who suffered a minor injury was treated and released from a hospital.

    Authorities said there were no working smoke detectors in the home. They were investigating whether the 4-year-olds were playing with a lighter when the fire started. 

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