A “negligent” landlord who failed to have smoke detectors or sprinklers in his Queens rental is responsible for a fire that killed two young sisters — and turned their family’s American dream into a nightmare, according to court papers.
Noor Naeem, 18, and Amna Syed, 21, were sleeping in a third-floor apartment on 101st Avenue with their mom and a third sister when the blaze erupted on May 27, 2021, according to litigation filed by the Queens Public Administrator’s office on behalf of the victim’s estates.
The young women died days later of smoke inhalation.
The flames were sparked by overloaded extension cords, according to the Fire Department, which noted the lack of smoke detectors.
“This is the biggest tragedy we’ve ever seen in our family,” said Zahid Shah, whose cousin, Farzana Yasmine, is the mother of the victims.
The family immigrated from Pakistan 21 years ago, and Noor and Amna “were always number one, number 2 in the school. They had everything going for them. It’s unbelievable,” he said.
Amna, a teacher, was the family breadwinner when she died, and Noor had been accepted into medical school, said Shah and his daughter Sofia, who launched an online fundraiser for the family after the fire.
“Both had very bright futures. Very good and strong women,” Sofia Shah told The Post.
Now Yasmine and her 16-year-old daughter, Aneba, are struggling to get by.
“She is not doing well. Mentally, she’s nowhere,” Zahid Shah said of his cousin.
“They also have had health issues due to this fire,” Sofia Shah said. “Farzana is unable to work and support her family due to this … Her hopes were for her daughters to help support the family. This tragic incident has taken a huge toll on the family.”
The deaths “were caused by the negligence, carelessness and recklessness of … [landlord] Nasreen Akhter,” the public administrator said in a pair of Queens Supreme Court lawsuits.
Akhter violated multiple city and state housing codes, according to the litigation, which was brought by the public administrator’s office because the parents of the young women are undocumented immigrants and could not sue, according to Daniel Costello, the lawyer on the case.
The lawsuits seek unspecified damages. Akhter could not be reached for comment.