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A house fire in Queens claimed the life of a 16-year-old girl Wednesday night; her mom and a neighbor were badly hurt
Fire marshals have determined that an unattended candle accidentally started the apartment blaze
Two firefighters were also hurt; authorities say the home was cluttered, which made battling the flames even more challenging
Fire marshals have determined that an unattended candle accidentally started a Queens apartment blaze that killed a teenage girl and seriously injured her mother and a neighbor.
The Fire Department tweeted the finding Friday, adding that the home had no smoke alarm.
The fire broke out Wednesday night in an apartment on Merrick Boulevard. It's in the St. Albans neighborhood, about 3 miles from JFK Airport.
Authorities said 16-year-old Lamonies Smith, her mother and the neighbor were found on the third floor. The girl was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Her 56-year-old mother was taken to a hospital in critical condition. The neighbor, a 76-year-old woman, was hospitalized in serious condition.
A neighbor who lives across the hall from the apartment where the fire started said he smelled smoke and then heard people screaming.
"I opened the door and saw smoke coming," Kojo Robotson told News 4. "I stayed in my apartment. Everyone ran out, and later the fire department came and escorted me out."
Firefighters on scene reported heavy clutter inside the house, making it difficult to put out the fire. The FDNY faced a similar issue in a high-rise fire in Brooklyn earlier in the day.
The investigation is ongoing.