NEW YORK (AP) – A woman died Saturday after getting caught in an apartment fire started by a 2-year-old playing with matches, authorities said.

The blaze that left 45-year-old Sandra Stephenes dead left five others, including the toddler, hospitalized. The toddler was in serious condition. Some managed to escape after the warnings of an 8-year-old girl.

The fire occurred at 1809 Albemarle Road in Brooklyn about 11:40 p.m. Friday night. Police said the injured and deceased were occupants of Apt. D62 on the sixth floor, but authorities did not release the names of the victims other than Stephenes and did not specify their exact relationships.

The incident started when the 2-year-old set fire to a mattress while playing with stick matches, fire spokesman Seth Andrews said.

The 8-year-old girl, who escaped unharmed, was awakened by the blaze. She roused adults, who tried to drag the burning mattress out of the apartment, Andrews said. But the mattress became stuck in the foyer, engulfing the front end of the apartment in fire, Andrews said.

Firefighters later found the toddler in a bathtub. On Saturday, he was in critical condition at Sea View Hospital. Another 45-year-old woman was in critical condition at Jacobi Medical Center, officials said.

A boy, 14, fractured his ankle as he escaped from a window and fell three stories after grabbing onto cable wires to come down about three floors, fire officials said. He was in stable condition at Maimonides Medical Center.

Another boy, 12, was found burned and unconscious in the apartment. He was in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center. A 45-year-old man was treated at a Brooklyn hospital and released. Another girl, age 9, escaped unharmed.

Stephenes died at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Fire marshals investigated the case and determined the cause. Andrews said Saturday that the fire department considered the case closed.

AP-ES-12-23-06 2031EST


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