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4 Women Hospitalized With Critical Injuries After Early Morning Fire In Queens

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Four women were hospitalized with critical injures after a fire broke out Thursday at a townhouse in Queens.

Neighbors told CBS2's Natalie Duddridge a mother and three adult daughters lived in the apartment and all had to be rescued by firefighters.

Authorities believe the flames started around 4:30 a.m. on the third floor of the home on 101st Avenue in Ozone Park.

Residents woke up to firefighters banging on their doors to get everyone out.

Duddridge spoke with one man who called 911 after he heard his upstairs neighbors screaming, unable to get out their front door because of the flames.

"They were trying to break the windows in the back. They also broke the windows in the front," Bryan Biveros said. "After that, the fire department was just rushing in."

"When the firefighters carry them... it looked like they were dying," neighbor M.D. Bepri said. "I am alive, but they are in critical condition. I'm sorry for them."

"Our units found three female victims, which they removed from the apartment in cardiac arrest. They all went to the hospital," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Kevin Brennan. "A fourth victim was also found simultaneously or shortly after in a rear bedroom."

The victims were rushed to Jamaica Hospital, where they were said to be in critical but stable condition.

Residents said they couldn't hear any smoke alarms going off, and the FDNY confirmed firefighters didn't find any inside.

"They were not alerted by a smoke alarm and that's just very sad. We over and over repeat how smoke alarms save lives," FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

The flames did not spread to other units, but residents said they were damaged by water and smoke.

"They went into my apartment and busted the ceiling out, the wall out," Teena Simmons said.

The Red Cross is helping several families with temporary housing.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious and is under investigation, though authorities believe it may have been electrical.

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