Jackson Heights woman dies after stove-top fire accident

Emergency responders exit an apartment complex in Jackson Heights, where a 74-year-old woman burned to death. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A small but deadly blaze killed a 74-year-old Jackson Heights woman as she was cooking breakfast Monday morning, the Fire Department said.

“The fire did not extend to anything else,” said FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer.

The name of the victim, who lived in one of the second-floor apartments at 34-15 74th St., has not been released, although the name on the door said “C. Genna.”

The woman was cooking breakfast at around 10:30 a.m. when her sleeve caught fire from the stove, the FDNY and NYPD said. The woman fled her apartment into the hallway, where FDNY officers who responded to the scene found her dead, Dwyer said.

The fire did not spread to the apartment or the hallway, he said.

Despite the fatal nature of the blaze, there were no outward signs of a fire from the outside of the six-story building where the woman lived. Ten residents of the apartment complex said they had not seen anything or smelled anything burning a few hours after the fire.

One resident, who lives on the fourth floor and declined to give her name, said she smelled smoke but concluded it was related to construction being done elsewhere in the building.

“When I left this morning, I smelled something burning and thought it was a soldering iron,” she said.

Members of the FDNY, NYPD and city Medical Examiner’s Office went in and out of the building all morning.

On Tuesday the only remnant of the fire was some scorch marks on the hallway. Some pink and white flowers in a red tin pot were left near the door of the woman’s apartment.

Dwyer urged city residents to remember not to wear loose clothing while cooking. He also said the batteries in her smoke alarm were taken out, which could have helped prevent the tragedy.

“In the vast majority of fatal fires, there’s no working smoke alarms,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4564.

Updated 5:04 pm, April 4, 2012
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