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Kew Gardens man dies in fire saving his family

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A 68-year-old man was killed Monday after helping his wife and daughter escape from a fire at their Kew Gardens Hills home, authorities and neighbors said.

Arthur Goldstein, 68, of 68-14 138th St., died after a fire started in his home shortly before 5 a.m. Monday, fire officials said.

One of several space heaters in Goldstein’s apartment set fire to an overstuffed chair, and the flames then spread throughout the apartment, Newsday reported.

After making sure his 9-year-old daughter and wife were out of the way of the blaze, Goldstein returned to the apartment to gather belongings, neighbors said.

Goldstein was injured and was rushed to New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, where he was declared dead, said police.

The wife was taken to the hospital with some injuries, Newsday said. It was not known whether the daughter was harmed. She was the only child still living at home in the large Goldstein family, neighbors said.

The blaze awakened residents of the area, many of whom left their apartments and stood outside in the freezing weather, fearing that the fire would spread to their homes. The fire, contained in the Goldsteins’ apartment, left the place in charred in ruins.

Goldstein, who was retired, had lived in the second-story apartment for several years.

Sherry Doctor, a friend and neighbor of Goldstein’s since he moved in, remembered him as a kind, generous man.

Doctor said Goldstein had made it his responsibility to take care of the gardens in the housing development. She said Goldstein had made a circle of ceramic tiles outside of his home in which he had set aside a special section for his daughter to plant this spring.

“He cared about the neighborhood,” said Doctor. Speaking of Goldstein’s daughter, Doctor said “she was so devoted to him.”

In accordance with Jewish law, funeral services were held for Goldstein, who was Orthodox, the day after his death at Sinai Chapel in Fresh Meadows .

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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