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Lithium-ion battery sparked fatal two-alarm fire that killed elderly Ozone Park woman: FDNY

Aug. 11, 2023 By Anthony Medina and Bill Parry

A 93-year-old woman was killed and a 69-year-old woman was injured while the FDNY battled a two-alarm fire in Ozone Park Friday afternoon, and the FDNY Fire Marshal’s office announced Saturday that the blaze was caused by a lithium-ion battery that caused such intense heat that it melted aluminum siding that covered the bricks on the exterior of a two-story building.

The NYPD identified the deceased woman as Kam Mei Koo, a 93-year-old woman who was found unconscious and unresponsive in her second-story apartment. A witness saw paramedics performing chest compressions on the victim before EMS rushed her to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The fire broke out at 98-01 101st Ave., just after 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 11, in apartments above the Farmers Insurance office on the ground floor.

The fire broke out at 98-01 101st Ave., just after 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 11, in apartments above the Farmers Insurance office on the ground floor. Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Firefighters responding to the scene of the fire broke windows and worked toward getting on top of the building. Photo by Anthony Medina

Smoke conditions caused several residents to jump out windows from the second floor to the sidewalk below, according to witnesses.

Firefighters tackle the scene of a dangerous fire on the corner of 98th Street and 101st Avenue, in Ozone Park, on Friday, Aug. 11. Photo by Anthony Medina

A 67-year-old woman was seen gasping for air from a second-floor window, according to witnesses at the scene, and neighbors tried to reach her window but the ladder they used was too short. Firefighters reached her apartment and she was taken to street level where she was treated with oxygen. A firefighter was able to rescue her puppy. EMS transported her to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center where she was treated and released a short while later.

Two other residents were seen in oxygen masks and two other women were working in the Direct HealthSource Home Care Services offices two doors down. They were overcome by smoke conditions and forced to leave the premises unattended.

A flower shop and a small diner were also evacuated, it is unclear if those businesses were impacted by the blaze.

The fire happened only steps away from several businesses on 101st Avenue, in Ozone Park, on Friday, Aug. 11. Photo by Anthony Medina

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The FDNY deployed 25 units and 120 firefighters and EMS personnel to battle the fire, according to the fire department. One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was treated at the scene. The blaze is believed to have been sparked by an electrical issue in one of the second-floor apartments.

The fire was deemed under control by 2:45 p.m., according to FDNY.

FDNY fire marshals determined that the two-alarm fire was accidental and caused by a lithium-ion battery.

Dozens of firefighters fought to extinguish the blaze. Photo by Anthony Medina

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