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Neighbors Watched Firefighters Call Out for Ambulance in Deadly Fire

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

WNYC
Once ambulances arrived, the 4-year-old siblings were taken to St. John's Hospital in cardiac arrest. They died of smoke inhalation. (STAN HONDA/Getty)

Neighbors of the home in Far Rockaway that caught fire late Saturday night say they watched firefighters try to resuscitate two 4-year-old siblings as they waited for an ambulance that was dispatched eight minutes later than it should have been.   

“It felt like it took forever,” said Tenora White, a neighbor. “And when the ambulance came, they rushed them to the ambulance. But their bodies was so lifeless. It was just limp.”

The half siblings, Jai’Launi and Ayina Tinglin, died of smoke inhalation.

Jai’Launi’s twin sister did survive the fire, as did their grandfather and a female tenant in the home.

The fire department is investigating the cause of the delay. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he expects a report within days. “We have to know that each and every time the ambulance will get there as quickly as humanly possible,” he said.

Firefighters arrived within 5 minutes. But Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano said that by the time E.M.S. arrived at the burning home, 21 minutes had passed since the first call to 911.

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