Springfield Gardens, Queens-A 3-year-old girl was killed in a car fire after her father allegedly set a fiery death trap in Queens, NY.
FDNY responded to a car fire at 154th Street and Baisley Boulevard shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday, after a passerby saw the car parked at an intersection and called 911, officials said.
Firefighters arrived to find a silver 2008 Audi sedan engulfed in flames with the doors of the car chained shut.
Three-year-old Zoey Pereira was found on the backseat of the car, fire officials said. The latch of the chains bolted on the doors gave way due to the heat, and firefighters were able to get the child out.
Pereira was rushed to the hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.
FDNY firefighters found two fuel canisters and a propane tank inside of the car.
A 39-year-old Valley Stream man, who sustained burns throughout his body, was found a short distance away near Baisely Pond, police said.
Witnesses saw the man, who was "on fire," running for his life while his child appeared to be seemingly clinging to life inside of the charred vehicle.
"The fire caught on him, also maybe he was running for his own life," said Owen Johnson. "She was still a little bit alive, but I could tell the time range and the time the FDNY came, she was burned," Johnson said.
Martin Pereira, the child’s father, was taken into custody and transported to the hospital in critical but stable condition, police said.
Cherone Coleman was worried. In March, she had split from her fiance, Martin Pereira. Now, the couple was waging war in a Queens courtroom over the custody of their 3-year-old daughter, Zoey.
But as Coleman, a 36-year-old medical assistant, said on Monday, Pereira had become increasingly unhinged in recent weeks as the parental squabbles continued. Despite the mother’s reservations, a judge ordered Pereira to take Zoey to his home on Long Island last weekend — a decision that would prove devastating.
“I should’ve just kept her and gone to jail,” Coleman said.