One-year-old killed in Homecrest fire

HOMECREST - A 1-year-old boy died from injuries sustained in a fatal fire Monday morning in Homecrest.

The two-alarm blaze started in a basement apartment on East 15th Street, where the boy lived with his mother, another young boy and his uncle. Firefighters arrived to find the apartment engulfed in flames. Deputy Fire Chief William Tanzosh said, ?The children were trapped in a basement apartment, [if] they had smoke detectors, they could have gotten out.?

All were taken to Coney Island Hospital in critical condition, where the boy later died. Fire officials say the apartment was illegal, and neighbors say that illegal residence isn?t the only one on the block.

Jean Martino, who lives nearby, says, ?These are strictly two-family houses, they?ve turned their houses into boarding houses? you?re creating a fire hazard, a sanitation hazard, all kinds of hazards.?

The homeowner, Xiao Ping, was fined for illegal construction and housing too many families under one roof. The fire marshal is still trying to determine the cause of the deadly incident.

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