Woodside man dies in house fire

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A Woodside man was killed and three others are in serious but stable condition after their home burst into flames early Friday morning, fire officials and neighbors said.

An explosion at the home started the two-alarm blaze, at 40-34 61st St., around 1:15 a.m. Friday, the Fire Department and homeowners said.

Police said the man’s name was being held until his family was notified.

The home’s wooden frame was charred and an adjacent home had all its windows smashed out with damage to both sides of the roof.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation as of 4 p.m. Friday.

Three others at the home were in serious but stable condition and a firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze, which took almost three hours to put out, a Fire Department spokesman said.

The fire escalated to a second alarm at 1:22 a.m., seven minutes after it began, and it was extinguished at 3:10 a.m., the spokesman said.

About 106 firefighters from 25 units responded to the blaze, the spokesman said.

“There was an explosion,” said a man who witnessed the fire and asked to be identified by his first name, Jose. “It’s a bad fire. For no reason, he had to suffer.”

Mary Smith, a former 61st Street resident who was walking by her old block Friday afternoon, said a man who lived in the home made dentures and bridges in the basement of the house.

“They were very decent people,” Smith said. “It makes me very sad.”’

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Posted 5:00 pm, November 18, 2011
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