BY TRONE DOWD
On Saturday, four of the five victims of the April 23 Queens Village fire were laid to rest as family, friends and city officials mourned the loss.
The four-alarm fire destroyed two homes and was the most significant loss of life in a single fire in New York City in more than two years. The funeral was held at the New Greater Bethel Ministries church in Queens Village. More than 800 people attended the emotional service.
The victims—2-year-old Chayce Lipford, 10-year-old Rashawn Matthews, 16-year-old Jada Foxworth and 20-year-old Destiny Dones—were all remembered in Saturday’s joint funeral service. The funeral for the fifth victim, 17-year-old Melody Edwards, was held separately from the other four victims.
“Our city is in mourning today as we remember the victims of the tragic fire that took place in a Queens Village home,” said Councilmember I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans). “Five precious young lives are suddenly no longer with us, and their families and friends must now summon the courage to face this painful reality.”
On Thursday, the city Fire Department is holding a joint town hall with Southeast Queens elected officials to review fire-safety measures.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica) and the Rev. Al Sharpton were all in attendance at Saturday’s funeral.
“Communities grieve with us when we lose someone, and we want them to know that we grieve with them also,” Nigro told ABC News. “It was a terrible day two weeks ago for them—and a terrible day for us.”