Today’s news:

Elderly woman found dead by Bravest battling Ridgewood fire

Police are stationed outside the home on Himrod Street. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Police said a 92-year-old woman died after a fire ripped through her two-story Ridgewood home Monday morning.

Neighbors said firefighters carried Maria Tchinkel onto the street in front of her Himrod Street home near Onderdonk Avenue and performed CPR on the 92-year-old. She was then rushed to Wycoff Heights Medical Center, where the Fire Department said the woman was pronounced dead.

First responders brought two other victims from the scene of the fire to Wycoff – one individual in serious condition, the other with minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

The status of the other two individuals and their relation to Tchinkel was not immediately known. Neighbors, however, noted that Tchinkel had a son who often assisted her and Tchinkel’s family did not leave the 92-year-old home alone.

FDNY said the fire was called into 18-68 Himrod St. around 10:30 a.m., where nearly 60 firefighters battled a blaze on the first floor. The flames were put out within half an hour, the department said.

Marshals had not yet determined what may have caused the fire as of Monday afternoon.

Neighbors described Tchinkel as a friendly woman, who was quick to greet passers-by.

Tchinkel had been a parishioner at St. Aloysius Parish in Ridgewood for at least a decade, according to Gisi Sterbenz, who works in the rectory.

“She liked to come in and talk German,” Sterbenz said. “She was friendly.”

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at

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