Two Cousins Saved From Raging Queens House Fire

Published date: .

Lt. Todd Smith, Firefighter Akiro Rodriguez and Lt. Kevin O’Hare rescued the girls after a fire broke out in Queens home. (Kevin C Downs/For New York Daily News)

It was a miracle — times three.

Heroic Queens firefighters, putting in a full day's work before sunrise, pulled two small cousins from a raging house fire before plucking a badly-burned man from a second nasty blaze just hours later.

The FDNY arrived at the burning homes to find neither had working smoke alarms, and both had residents pinned down in heavy fire and smoke.

Lt. Todd Smith of Ladder 292/Rescue 4 lugged one girl's near-lifeless body from the three-story Jackson Heights home that went up in flames shortly after midnight Friday — the first of the two fires.

"I began first-aid, doing mouth-to-mouth," recalled Smith, 46, a father of two. "She was not responsive, unconscious . . . not breathing on her own. It's heart-wrenching. Adrenaline kicks in."

The girls, cousins Jasmine Basra and Sahron Basra, both 7, were taken to the Weill Cornell Medicine Burn Center in critical but stable condition.

Their grandfather told the Daily News that both kids suffered burns and smoke inhalation before the dramatic rescues that saved their lives.

The fire started in a closet, where four candles were burning in front of a Hindu religious shrine.

The frantic father of one of the girls steered the first responders to a back bedroom inside the house on 71st St., where the two children were trapped.

Smith recalled going in as Firefighter Akira Rodriguez, 35, of Ladder 154, came out with the first little girl.

Firefighters battle house fire in 71st St. early Friday. (Danny Iudici for NY Daily News/Danny Iudici for NY Daily News)

Rodriguez said he could hear screaming before going inside the bedroom. He managed to locate the first child despite the smoke and flames.

"This was my first saved one," said Rodriguez, who had trouble describing his emotions. "It was good, but I don't know. I lost my words, I guess."

Before the smoke-eaters had time to unwind, a second raging blaze about 2 miles from the first was reported at 5:10 a.m. on Case St. in Corona.

UPS worker Jay Solo, 43, was drinking beers on the street with two colleagues from the overnight shift when he spotted a half-naked man fleeing the two-story home.

Solo looked down the street to see "an inferno. It was really f------g bad."

The horrific scene didn't deter Lt. Kevin O'Hare, working his second fire of the night, as he ran inside. A collapsed staircase made his search effort even more precarious.

"It was bad," O'Hare recounted. "Heavy fire rolling up the door. . . . It was a rather panicking scene in front of me."

Yet O'Hare, of Ladder 154, managed to locate a missing man who had wrapped himself in bedsheets and blankets for protection.

The unidentified victim "miraculously survived in very heavy fire conditions," said FDNY Deputy Mark Ferran. "He did have very serious burns."

The man rescued by O'Hare was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.

Neighbors and relatives react in horror during the early morning Queens fire. (Danny Iudici/for New York Daily News)

Seven firefighters and another four civilians were injured in the fast-moving fire, which started shortly before sunrise.

Building resident Armando Torres, 43, said he was awakened by a massive explosion on the second floor. He and a half-dozen relatives escaped before things turned terrifying.

"It broke all the windows, and (the fire) spread very rapidly," Torres said. "There was fire on anything flammable. We heard the explosion, and just got out."

Fire marshals later ruled the blaze was accidental, ignited by faulty electrical wiring.

Residents of the fire-damaged Jackson Heights building recalled a nightmarish scene where kids were forced to jump from their windows to escape the flames.

"I woke up with people screaming," said resident Saroj Basra, 44, who was asleep on the first floor. "I came outside, said, 'What's going on?' There was fire, smoke. I couldn't go back."

Basra recalled running outside and screaming at her son Tyson, 12, and his 5-year-old kid brother to throw their mattress out a second-floor window and use it to make a soft landing.

The distraught mom stood near the mattress and helped both her sons survive the 12-foot leap, joining with other relatives to try and catch the kids.

"I had no other solution," explained Basra, whose right leg was hobbled in the effort. "If they didn't jump, I don't know what would have happened."