A 1-year-old girl was killed and her 3-year-old sister was injured yesterday when a fire broke out in their Northeast Washington apartment while their parents were out, fire officials said.

The name of the dead child was not released. Her sister, identified as Tenisha Stingey, was rescued by neighbors who broke down the apartment's door. She was listed in serious condition last night at Children's Hospital. Officials said she was being treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns.

The fire began about 4:15 p.m. in a building in the 300 block of 56th Street NE, said Capt. Ted Holmes, a Fire Department spokesman.

Holmes said the parents, whom other residents identified as Denise and Jerome Stingey, were visiting neighbors on the block.

Holmes said the 1-year-old was found next to a window in the three-room, third-floor apartment.

He said that firefighters did not know what caused the fire, and that it was not immediately known if the apartment had a smoke detector.

Thomas Johnson, 13, said his mother was outside the building when she saw fire flashing through the apartment window. She asked him, another building resident and two neighbors from across the street to rush up to the apartment, he said.

"She said their apartment was on fire, and we went up there and pounded on the door," Johnson said. "We got in, and got on the floor and saw the children. Their arms were burned. We grabbed the older one as fast as we could."