Watch CBS News

8-year-old girl dies after house fire in Queens

Investigators: E-bike sparked Queens house fire that killed 8-year-old
Investigators: E-bike sparked Queens house fire that killed 8-year-old 02:34

NEW YORK -- Investigators in Queens say an e-bike sparked a house fire that killed an 8-year-old girl and injured two other people Saturday.

As CBS2's Alecia Reid reports, within minutes of getting the call around 7:30 a.m., firefighters rushed to put out the blaze at the home on 130th Street in College Point.

Eight-year-old Stephanie Villa Torres was in the third-floor apartment at the time of the fire. The young girl suffered smoke inhalation and was rushed to Booth Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"It's very sad to hear about. I heard that the father couldn't get to her in time, which is really heartbreaking when you think about it," College Point resident Sam Chen said.

"It's sad. I have a 5-year-old son, too. I can't even imagine how I'd feel. It's terrible," College Point resident Anthony Cribillero said.

An 18-year-old man and a 35-year-old man were also taken to a local hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and burns. Their injuries are described as serious but non-life-threatening.

One neighbor got the chilling call for his sister and says the fire erupted from the unit.

"She saw just a huge fire and everything happening, but she never really seen anything like this, especially around our area, where there's, like, really never anything. It's just a calm neighborhood," Alejandro Mendreno said.

FDNY officials say a lithium ion battery from an e-bike caused the fire.

People living nearby are grateful first responders were able to get it under control quickly.

"All the houses on this side of the block, they're all connected, so the fire could easily spread across, but I'm happy that the responders got here in time and were able to take care of it, but it's really unfortunate what happened to the family up there," Chen said.

RELATED STORY: 5-year-old girl, woman killed when scooter or e-bike battery sparks fire at East Harlem apartment, FDNY officials say

E-bikes are being blamed for more than 60 injuries in the city this year.

In early August in East Harlem, a 5-year-old girl and a 36-year-old woman died at the Jackie Robinson Houses after an e-bike fire. Officials say that bike's battery exploded outside an apartment, trapping the family inside.

NYCHA is pushing to have e-bikes banned from their buildings.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.