Terrible. Just heartbreaking. This is the only way to describe the devastation in Far Rockaway, Queens, New York early Easter morning, when a fire killed two 4-year-old children, Jai’Launi Tinglin and his half sister Ayina, due to smoke inhalation. Jai’Launi’s twin sister and the grandfather and aunt of the victims survived.
Apparently one of the children was playing with a lighter in bed while the grandfather slept.
Firefighters had to take the limp bodies of the two children out of the burning house. And what is truly outrageous is that it took the ambulance 21 minutes after the 911 call was made to arrive at the scene—14 minutes to dispatch the ambulance, and another seven to drive to the home. The fire started before 11:50 p.m. the night before Easter, and a neighbor called 911 at 11:51 p.m. Fire trucks arrived on the scene at 11:56 p.m. and called the dispatcher at 11:57 p.m. And yet, the ambulances were not dispatched until 12:05 am, the first one arriving at 12:12 a.m.
An investigation is underway, with the New York Times pointing to a breakdown in communications between the firefighters and the emergency dispatchers. How and when the breakdown occurred is unknown, but what is known is that when firefighters arrive at a scene, the ambulance is called and dispatched immediately. That did not happen, and obviously somebody messed up. The time lag had deadly consequences.