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Blaze claims Sunnyside man

A bouquet of flowers is propped against the wall of a building in Sunnyside where a man died in a fire. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A bouquet of flowers was left outside a Sunnyside building last Thursday after a man died in a fire in the early hours of the previous day.

As of Tuesday afternoon the FDNY had not released the name of the man, who lived at 49-01 43rd Ave. in Sunnyside. The department’s press office said the FDNY received an alert for a one-alarm fire Sept. 28 at 3:34 a.m. at the property, which is made up of a tax business on the ground floor and apartments on the second floor. The firefighters had the blaze, which started on the second floor, under control by 4:11 a.m., FDNY said.

While the fire was relatively brief, it was deadly. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, the FDNY said. Two firefighters were also taken to the North Shore-LIJ Forest Hills Hospital for minor injuries, the FDNY said.

Hazel Rios, 31, had lived at the Sunnyside building for less than a month with her husband, two children and a dog. She was at the 43rd Avenue property last Thursday morning with a friend. The windows on the second floor had been boarded up and a bouquet of roses, tiger lilies and daisies had been left outside on 49th Street.

She said she knew little about the victim, whose first name may have been “Roman.” Rios said he was a chef from Mexico, about 45 years old, and she thought he had lived in the building for 10 months.

“He was a lonely man,” she said. “Working too much, no family.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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