9 Injured, 1 Critically, as Fire Ravages Queens Homes

Authorities say nine people, including several firefighters, have been injured in a fire that engulfed two houses in Queens.

The blaze started around 4:30 a.m. Monday in a three-story house on Ketcham Street in Elmhurst and quickly spread next door, authorities said.

Mary Ann Mercado lives with her family in the next-door home; she said the flames were so intense they melted the siding of her home and her family was stranded on the third floor.

There is no indoor staircase and her family must use a fire escape to get in and out each day, but the flames were too strong to use the exit, she said.

"The flame is coming in our face, I didn't know what to do," Mercado said. "I would want to run out, that is my first thing. But when I see the flames so big I just say, 'Oh my god, if we run out we might get burned.'"

Among those injured was a 30-year-old woman with burns to her head and abdomen. A 12-year-old suffered smoke inhalation.

The others, including three firefighters, suffered minor injuries.

The fire was brought under control at about 5:30 a.m.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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