Two People Badly Injured in Fire at NYCHA Building

NY Post - March 02, 2019

by Olivia Bensimon, Gabrielle Fonrouge and Natalie Musumeci

A man was killed and his elderly mother injured when a fire tore through an apartment at a New York City Housing Authority building in East Harlem Friday, authorities and neighbors said.

The inferno started around 10:30 a.m. inside of a third-floor apartment at the Woodrow Wilson Houses at East 105th Street, officials said.

Seventy-eight fire personnel responded to the scene and were able to get the fire under control by 11:02 a.m., but after they extinguished the blaze, they found an unresponsive 62-year-old man and a 93-year-old woman with a minor injury.

Medics pronounced the man dead at the scene and rushed the woman to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Building resident Keisha Pollard, 49, who lives across the hall from where the fire broke out said that her two sons, aged 31 and 23, desperately tried to kick down the door to save their neighbors.

“I could hear her screaming,” Pollard said of her neighbor, adding that she “could smell fire.”

“I saw the thick smoke and then I didn’t hear her no more,” Pollard said.

Pollard said that then she started to scream out for help.

“I was crying, ‘call the fire department I think my neighbor’s apartment is on fire!’” she said. “There was thick smoke, could smell it.”

Pollard said that the victims were a mother and son who have lived in the apartment for more than 20 years.

“They’ve been living here for longer than me,” she said, noting that residents knew the man by the nickname “Bubba.”

The identities of the victims were not immediately released.

The Fire Marshal was investigating the cause of the blaze.