A suspicious fire swept through the top floors of a four-story Brooklyn building Monday, killing two girls and a man and injuring several others, fire officials said.
The girls, 14 and 3, were found on the top floor, as was the 62-year-old man, according to a police spokesman, who did not provide any other information about the victims.
Police said a 47-year-old man was hospitalized in critical condition. Three people were hospitalized with injuries that were serious but not life-threatening and two firefighters suffered minor injuries, a fire department spokesman said.
Fire marshals said Tuesday a child playing with a lighter on a bed caused the fire. There was also a delay in calling 911, they added.
The fire was reported just after 5:30 p.m. Monday in the borough's Bushwick section. A team of 60 firefighters raced against the clock working to control the fierce flames that engulfed the stoop, stairwell and second floor of the four-story brownstone. The blaze had spread to the building's attic before firefighters managed to get it under control about an hour after it began.
Now, only a charred shell of a brownstone remains on Putnam Avenue -- the remnants of a fast-moving fire that neighbors won't soon forget.
"I seen fires in my life but I haven't seen a lot of fires like that," said witness Joshua Landy.
Despite firefighters' tireless efforts to curb the flames, they could not save the lives of a father and his two young daughters, who remained trapped inside the building. The victims have been identified as Jeff Lormond, 62, and his daughters -- 14-year-old Dzhane and 3-year-old Jemyiah Lormond.
Shocked bystanders were stunned as firefighters carried out the severely burned body of the 3-year-old girl.
"I seen a firefighter carry out a child's body. She was very burned .. very bad," said Landy. "It was just horrifying."
A saddened fire chief expressed remorse that his units couldn't save the family.
"Our units made a tremendous push to get these victims because we knew that there were people in there. We had members go in through the aerial ladders, go in through the windows, and they were able to find all the victims," said Fire Chief Stephen Moro. "Unfortunately, three of them perished."