9-Year-Old Boy Killed in N.Y.C. House Fire Sparked by Candles Lit for Religious Ceremony: Reports
Matthew Pichardo died and three others were injured in the house fire in Queens, New York
A 9-year-old boy was killed in a fast-moving fire that tore through his family's home in New York City early Sunday, according to local reports.
The blaze broke out in Far Rockaway, Queens around 6:30 a.m., killing Matthew Pichardo and leaving three others with minor injuries, WABC reported.
According to WLNY, Matthew was transported to Saint Johns Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"It's a tragedy, man," neighbor Dennis Martinez told WABC. "A little boy's not supposed to die like that."
Though authorities initially labeled the blaze suspicious, investigators now believe that the fire was sparked by dozens of candles that had been lit as part of a religious ceremony, according to WABC and the New York Daily News. Candles were reportedly found in both the kitchen and the backyard of the home.
Four families were displaced in the blaze, which took place at a residence consisting of two attached family homes containing four apartments, according to WABC.
The Daily News reported that it took 106 firefighters about an hour to bring the two-alarm blaze under control.
A co-worker and friend of Matthew's father, Sergio Pichardo, organized a GoFundMe page to help cover funeral costs and help with damage from the fire.
"I've known Sergio for 15 years and from our daily conversations I can tell you that he is one of the best fathers I've ever known when he speaks of his two boys," the page read. "It's certainly one of my highlights of each day to hear about his time with his boys."
Neither the NYPD nor the FDNY immediately responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.