Fatal Staten Island Blaze Caused by Lit Cigarette: FDNY

WABC - October 11, 2018

by THOMAS TRACY

A Staten Island fire that killed a 62-year-old man was sparked by an unattended cigarette, FDNY fire marshals said Tuesday.

FDNY investigators declared John (Wood) Finley’s death accidental after an errant cigarette set off a fast-moving fire in his two-story home on Scenic Lane near Circle Loop in Park Hill at about 2:50 a.m. Sunday. There were no smoke alarms in the home, officials said.

Firefighters pulled Finley out of his home and medics rushed him to Staten Island University Hospital North, where he died.

His two pit bulls, Blue and Skeeter, were treated for smoke inhalation and taken to a neighbor’s home, friends said.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the two-alarm blaze, which was brought under control in about an hour, the FDNY said.

Finley worked as a maintenance worker at a nearby apartment complex, neighbors said, and was a generous man who treated everyone on the block like family.

“We all called him the mayor,” neighbor Errol Morgan, 54, said Sunday. “He looked out for everyone. If someone was blocking your driveway, he'd tell them they couldn't sit there.

He'd shovel snow, look out for kids getting off the school bus.”