Today’s news:

Richmond Hill cabbie fights with wife, sets himself on fire

Sawak, 48, a Queens cab driver, set himself ablaze in front of his 103-19 126th St. house after his wife Sharion filed a complaint about his abusive behavior toward her with the 102nd Precinct, police said.

Neighbors said the couple had a history of fighting. Sharion declined to speak with the TimesLedger but told the Daily News there were numerous instances in which he had threatened his family.

"He always threatened, 'I'm going to burn the house down with everything inside,'" Sharion told the paper. "Instead he burned himself."

Sharion told police her husband had been drinking throughout the morning following a fight the night before and had followed her to the precinct, where police threatened to lock him up if he did not stop abusing his wife.

Minutes later his children could only watch from the window of their Ozone Park home as their father turned himself into a human fireball.

Police said one man, Mike Mohammed, 44, tried to put out the fire by covering Sawak in a wet rug. Mohammed said Sawak was still breathing when he reached him.

Sawak was taken to Jamaica Hospital and was dead on arrival at 3 p.m., with third-degree burns covering his body, police said.

One neighbor described Sawak as "unrecognizable" due to the fire damage. An untouched fire extinguisher lay merely inches from where Sawak died, beyond a small gate that surrounded the Sawak home.

One neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, looked out into the street to where the memorial had been erected.

"He was always angry with her, Mr. Sawak. Many of us knew that," the neighbor said. "But those poor kids, that's the worst part. They had to watch their father set himself on fire, probably without knowing or understanding why - that's the real shame here - and a memory and nightmare they probably won't ever forget."

Reach editorial intern Mallory Simon by e-mail at

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