Whitestone man dies after fire in basement apartment

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A Whitestone man died late Thursday night after a fire broke out in his basement apartment, according to the NYPD and the FDNY.

At about 11:50 p.m., police responded to a call of a fire at 154-26 Riverside Drive and discovered a two-story brick home on fire, police and the Fire Department said.

After the flames were extinguished by FDNY personnel, Mario Dimisa, 74, was found unconscious and unresponsive, officials said.

EMS also responded and pronounced Dimisa dead at the scene, police continued.

An FDNY spokeswoman said the cause of death was careless smoking, but could not confirm whether it was due to an unattended cigarette or another factor.

Dimisa was found in his basement apartment, the spokeswoman said.

The fire broke out in the basement and extended to the first floor, she said. Firefighters doused flames on both floors, with the fire coming under control at 1:44 a.m., the spokeswoman added.

The FDNY and the NYPD said the investigation was ongoing.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4566.

Updated 12:32 am, July 10, 2018
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Reader feedback

Nothing new from Queens says:
Probably an illegal conversion. ...what else is new?
Feb. 12, 2016, 1 pm
Rick D says:
This is a one family house. How is no one from the Dept of Buildings not issuing violations for this illegal apartment? How about the IRS for unreported rental income?
Feb. 12, 2016, 9:03 pm

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