A blaze that erupted in a Brooklyn deli spread to the apartments above, killing two women and sending three more people to the hospital Wednesday morning, officials said.
Flames spat out of the second floor apartments where the two women were found on Belmont Ave. and Chestnut St. at around 1:30 a.m. in Cypress Hills.
Nearly 50 people, mostly Bangladeshi immigrants, were forced to flee through the fire escape and a staircase darkened by smoke as the fire ripped through the four-story building.
Ranu Uddin, who lives on the top floor, woke to the sound of her panicked neighbors screaming, "fire!"
Her husband opened the window and saw thick smoke engulfing the brick building. The family made a mad dash for the stairs.
"We couldn't even take a breath," said Uddin, a 44-year-old mother of three. "Everything was so smoky. It was blurry. We couldn't see coming down the stairs."
Fourteen children were among the evacuated residents.
"There were little kids being carried by their parents helping them to get down," Naznun Nahar said, describing the mad dash down the fire escape.
"I saw one of my neighbors jump from the second floor," said Nahar, 36.
The women, in their 50s and 60s, were rushed to Brookdale Hospital, where they died, after firefighters extinguished the flames. They were not identified.
Three more people were hospitalized after the fire, including one resident in critical condition. A firefighter suffered minor injuries while tackling the fire.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. ___
This article is written by Adam Shrier and Nicole Hensley from New York Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.