|Print this story||Permalink|
Ashram Katwarol, 49, an immigrant from Trinidad, was pronounced dead at the scene after being trapped in his third-floor apartment and being burned by the fire.
His son, Adrian, 19, was taken to New York Cornell Weill Burn Center and died Monday, police said.
Neighbors said Ashram Katwarol was a mechanic who worked at a shop on 180th Street and his son Adrian was a musician in a West Indian band.
"They were good people," said Adriel Rosario, who lived next door to the men. "They both were always nice."
Three firefighters were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and treated for minor injuries that occurred while fighting the blaze.
The fire was reported by neighbors of the three-story building at 111-09 Liberty Ave. at about 2:30 a.m. About 60 firefighters from 12 units had the blaze extinguished by about 3 a.m.
Investigators found evidence that an accelerant, possibly gasoline, was used to ignite the fire in the entranceway of the home, police said.
Neighbors of the gutted building said police canvassed nearby homes on Saturday, bringing some witnesses to the station house for questioning about the deliberately set blaze.
A police spokesman Tuesday said no arrest had been made in the incident and authorities had not identified a motive or target in the crime.
In the wake of the fire, all the tenants of the building were left without homes and a store on the first floor, Al-Amin Grocery and Meat Market, was damaged.
On Sunday, residents in the Liberty Avenue neighborhood placed a makeshift memorial of candles and flowers outside the home as firefighters continued their investigation at the scene.
Residents from adjacent buildings on Sunday recounted the harrowing moments when fire overtook the building.
"We were woken up by what sounded like an explosion," said Elena Esdaille, who was visiting her parents at 111-11 Liberty Ave. when the blaze broke out. "I could smell smoke so I looked out the window and I saw flames shooting out the windows on the second floor."
Esdaille and her teenage daughter Krystal awakened the rest of their family and rushed outside.
"We didn't even have any shoes on," Esdaille said. "We just got out."
Esdaille said as the fire quickly began to engulf the third floor of the building she could see a person at the window calling for help.
"It was terrible," Esdaille said.
Rosario and his teenage stepson Johnny Diaz, who also live at 111-11 Liberty Ave. began smelling smoke in their apartment shortly before 2:30 a.m., then they heard someone yelling "Fire! fire!"
The two men left the safety of their apartment to see if there was anyone still trapped in the burning building.
"We tried to kick in a door that leads to that building, but it wouldn't open," Rosario said. "So we ran up to the roof to see if we could get in through the door up there. There was a lot of smoke. We could see the flames coming onto the roof so we went back down."
When the pair went out the back entrance of their building, they came upon six people who had fled the burning building and were gathered in the backyard.
"They were trying to get over fences, trying to get away from the building," Rosario said. "So we helped them over the fence and brought them out through our building."
For his heroism, Rosario said he got multiple burns and scratches on his arms and later was interrogated by police.
"They took me to the station and asked me all kinds of questions," Rosario said. "'Where were you when the fire started? Is there anyone who might be mad at you?' They kept me there for about four hours. I felt like they treated me like a criminal and all I was trying to do was help."
Rosario said he and other neighbors placed the memorial of candles and flowers outside the fire-blackened building as a sign of respect for the father and son.
Reach reporter Tom Nicholson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.