By Bill Parry

An early morning fire claimed the life of a 46-year-old Jackson Heights woman Saturday, according to the NYPD.

Residents of The Saybrook building, at 85-10 34th Ave., said Sophia Paz was killed when something caused an explosion in her sixth-floor apartment just after 3 a.m.

“You could hear the blast blow the kitchen window out,” a neighbor named Stephanie said. “Then you could hear all this debris falling into the courtyard, they had a crew working all morning to clean it up.”

A fifth-floor resident named James said he saw emergency workers trying to revive the victim on the fourth floor. The FDNY transported Paz to Elmhurst Hospital Center where she was pronounced DOA.

“Sophie was a very nice lady, very energetic, always with a smile,” James said. “She worked from home where she lived alone, well not alone. She had a cat that also perished in the fire.”

The NYPD said the Fire Marshall will determine the cause of the fire while the Medical Examiner will determine the victim’s cause of death. The investigations are ongoing.

Residents gathered in groups midday Saturday to discuss what happened and several said it could have been a lot worse.

“The FDNY was here immediately and they extinguished the fire so quickly that there wasn’t any smoke damage except in apartment 610,” James said. “We’re all very upset about it because this kind of thing never happens around here, and I’ve been here for 20 years.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718.260.4538.

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