Fire in Jamaica Estates apartment kills man

Members of the city medical examiner's office remove the body of a man killed in the blaze. Photo by Ellis Kaplan
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A man perished in his Jamaica Estates apartment Tuesday morning in a raging fire that also injured the man’s elderly mother and sent one firefighter to the hospital, according to the FDNY and witnesses.

The FDNY said the fire broke out in a second-floor apartment, at 182-30 Wexford Terrace, around 5:12 a.m. A spokesman for the FDNY said it took 60 firemen more than 40 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

The spokesman confirmed that one person had died in the fire and another was seriously injured. Two others sustained non-serious injuries, while a firefighter was taken to Queens General Hospital for treatment, he said.

A man who works in the building but did not want to give his name said the resident who died in the fire was in his mid-60s and that his mother, who also lived in the apartment, survived but was taken to the hospital with injuries.

Red Cross spokesman Michael Devulpillieres said the organization dispatched a team to the scene to offer health services to anyone affected by the fire as well as emergency housing and other support. He said three people who lived in neighboring apartments registered with the organization but did not require any services. He said the organization is also in the process of reaching out to the mother at the hospital to see if she needs help.

Devulpillieres said the organization has seen a recent jump in the number of fires across the city.

“When we see extreme weather, we see more fires or we see larger fires,” he said.

A detective at the scene said the fire appeared to be accidental.

Many officials were still on the scene mid-morning and the broken windows of the apartment were clearly visible from the sidewalk.

One resident who lived in the building said smoke reached the third floor, but several others were unaware anything had happened.

One woman said she learned of the incident from her brother who saw reports about the fire on the news and called to see if she was OK.

“I said, ‘What are you talking about?’” she recalled.

A neighbor who lived in a nearby building and was walking by the apartment complex to find out what happened said she heard the constant wail of fire engine sirens down the street earlier that morning.

The neighbor, Lorraine Popper, said she poked her head out her window to see if she could smell smoke but did not detect anything.

But later she saw what had happened on the news.

“We’ve probably passed these people on the street,” she said, shaking her head in dismay.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 12:32 am, February 22, 2013
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