95-Year-Old Woman Killed in Brooklyn House Fire, Despite Daughter's Efforts to Free Her from the Flames

NY Daily News - July 08, 2018

by JEFF BACHNER and ADAM SHRIER

A bedridden 95-year-old woman died in a Brooklyn house fire Saturday despite her daughter’s efforts to free her from the flames, the FDNY and witnesses said.

Anna Bartheleny was killed in the two-alarm blaze that erupted in the basement apartment of her home on E. 93rd St. near Avenue K in Canarsie about 3 p.m., the FDNY and witnesses said. Esther Benoit, the nonagenarian’s daughter, who lives a floor above her mom’s apartment, tried in vain to rescue her from the fire. “The smoke was so bad, I couldn't even see where to put my feet,” Benoit said.

Moments before smoke started rising from the basement, Benoit said she heard a loud pop — she believes it was the sound of her mother’s 65-inch television exploding. "She was too sweet to die like that," the daughter said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze about 4 p.m., according to the FDNY. Benoit and a firefighter suffered minor injuries but refused medical attention. Hours later, Benoit — a retired nurse — was still outside the house, waiting for emergency workers to bring out her mother. “I’m not going anywhere. I want to see her face,” she said.

Benoit said her mother moved into the house about five years ago as her health waned in old age. Bartheleny was a dedicated churchgoer who sang in the choir. Her razor-sharp memory helped her recall the lyrics to any song, her daughter said. FDNY fire marshals will determine the cause of the blaze.