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NYC fire had wedding guests jumping out of windows to safety

A bride and her 6-year-old niece were among two dozen people injured in an Elmhurst, Queens, blaze Sunday morning that sent occupants jumping from windows for safety hours after a wedding celebration wrapped up, authorities and family said.


“People couldn’t get out of the windows because of the gates. They were jumping out the window from the top,” 15-year-old neighbor Mike Paucar told The Post.

Flames broke out at the home at 41-46 Hampton Street around 7:44 a.m., the FDNY said. Twenty-two civilians and one firefighter were transported to area hospitals, officials said.

Family members of the newly wedded couple, Elizabeth Altamirano and Patrak Farjado, said they had been celebrating at the residence until about 4 a.m. 

Jefferson Altamirano, 16, said his sister and brother-in-law were inside sleeping when they heard a loud boom.

“They still don’t know what [caused it] but they are saying it’s a gas leak,” he told The Post.

First responders had the blaze under control by 8:29 a.m., FDNY said.

Paucar said he saw as many as 10 people jump from the third-floor window. Windows on the other floors were covered by metal safety gates.

“They were breaking down the AC that was up there and they started jumping,” he said. “All you saw were people jumping from the top window. They were landing on the floor, some of them got hurt.”

Video of the blaze filmed by another neighbor, Sandra Alvarez, showed flames engulfing the back end of the house. Another clip showed a woman crying and consoling two small children.

Alvarez said she came outside after hearing an older woman and children screaming.

“She was asking for help. She was saying ‘The kids, the kids, the kids. Help bring the kids outside,’” Alvarez, 49, said. “She was worried about the people stuck in the house. I think they were stuck in the stairs and they had to come out from the attic.”

“It was like a movie. They had smoke on their face. It was pretty scary,” she said.

Altamirano said the newlywed husband ran in three times to rescue the kids.

“He had to run back in and do the most he could. He couldn’t get the fire out. He said he made three trips to go inside,” Altamirano said. “He gets up and takes out his baby and goes back inside for his step son and when he goes out and tries to go back up, the stairs were filled with smoke.”


“We were having a great time until the DJ had to leave,” he said. “We were supposed to come back today for the walk of the wedding. We were going to do it in the driveway but we can’t do it no more.”

To read more from the New York Post, click here.

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