The fire on Agate Court in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Tuesday, which claimed the life of a mother and her infant daughter, was caused by malfunctioning electrical wiring, according to the FDNY.
The 22-year-old mother and her one-year-old daughter, who were pronounced dead at Interfaith Hospital Tuesday morning but have not yet been publicly identified, pending family notification, lived in a unit without a functioning smoke alarm, the Department said on Twitter.
The lack of a working smoke alarm significantly heightened the danger for the woman and her child. FDNY spokesperson Jim Long said that historically, up to 70 percent of fire fatalities in the city have taken place in residences without a working smoke alarm.
Neighbors say that a large family lived in the house, which was completely gutted by the blaze. City records show the building’s owner is registered as the trust of Percy McClellan; a priest of the same name from Bed-Stuy passed away last year at the age of 95.
The Department of Buildings has ordered the family to vacate. Life on Agate Court — a quiet, short dead-end block jutting off Atlantic Avenue — has been significantly disrupted by the deadly fire, as everyone on the block knows each other, said one neighbor who lives across the street.
Firefighters pulled the woman, her child, and a third individual out of the burning building Tuesday morning; the third person, whom neighbors said was another member of the family, was treated at Interfaith for minor injuries.