A lithium battery from her sibling’s new electric scooter caused the blaze that killed an 8-year-old girl in Queens, fire officials and neighbors said Sunday — as residents recalled the frantic futile effort to save the child.
“The firefighter took the girl out first. He was carrying her in his arms,” said resident Daniel Calle, 27. “She looked like she was asleep.
“They were working diligently on her. They were pumping her chest. … But she wasn’t moving.”
Shaken resident Dora Dellis, 72, added, “There were about six or seven people around her.
“The [landlord’s wife] was crying.”
She was saying, “I don’t care about the house. I don’t want the girl to die,” the witness said.
Fire officials said a scooter caused the blaze, and the landlord added that the electric device had been recently bought by the family for one of the little girl’s teenage brothers.
“They just bought that stupid thing,” the landlord said of the scooter. “I think they got it a month, a month and a half ago. Most of the time, the bike is here. [The girl’s dad] told me it was for his son but he uses it, too.”
The dead girl, identified as Stephanie Villa Torres, suffered smoke inhalation and was pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian Hospital of Queens, authorities said.
The building’s landlord described her as a “quiet little girl. Very pretty, very sweet.
“In the beginning she was very shy,” he said of the victim when the family first moved in. “She was trying to hide.
“After that she was very sweet. She would say hi. The last time I saw was the day before, right here,” he said standing in front of his front door.
“She walked in with her mother. I said, ‘Hi Stephanie, how you doing?’ She said ‘Hi’ back. She was always a happy, sweet girl.”
The fire broke out at the multi-family home at 130th Street in College Point shortly after 7:30 a.m. Saturday, officials said.
Two others, believed to be Stephanie’s father and brother, were listed in stable condition at Jacobi Hospital Medical Center.
On Sunday, city fire and Building Department officials were at the scene.
“I mean, this is a kid,” said Debbie, another neighbor. “I have grandkids that age so, you know, it’s just a shame.
“Those batteries, they gotta do something about those batteries because it’s too many lives they are losing,” she added.