Man Dies Trying to Douse Fire in Bedroom of His Brooklyn Apartment

NY Daily News - January 05, 2020

by ELIZABETH KEOGH and THOMAS TRACY

A Brooklyn man died Saturday as he tried to douse a fire in the bedroom of his NYCHA apartment in Gravesend, authorities said.

Fire erupted around 1:45 p.m. in the fifth-floor apartment on W. 8th St. near 86th St., in the New York City Housing Authority’s Marlboro Houses.

Next-door neighbor Christopher Stoudmire was alerted to the blaze by a loud alarm. “My intention was to go see where the noise was coming from,” he said. “When I opened the door, I saw a big cloud of smoke. Then I saw the flame under the door.”

Stoudmire said his own son and stepdaughter got out of the building safely. “I had to bring them outside so they could get some fresh air,” he said.

Sometime after 911 was called, the 63-year-old victim — whose name has not been released — went into his bedroom to put out the fire. He soon passed out amid the smoke and flames, officials said.

Responding firefighters and EMTs pulled him out of the apartment.

“They brought him down and tried to revive him,” said Stoudmire, 47. “On the side of him were all burn marks .... He was badly burned.”

“They were trying to save him," said neighbor Sherri Anthony, 36. “His pants were ripped off, his shoes were burned up. His back looked damaged. He was completely unconscious. It was horrible.”

The victim suffered burns over 60% of his body, sources with knowledge of the incident said. Crews rushed him to Coney Island Hospital, where he was declared dead.

Stoudmire said the man shared the apartment with his girlfriend and their dog. The girlfriend was away visiting family in South Carolina, and their dog is safe with a neighbor, he said.

“He was a good man,” Stoudmire said. “Every time he sees me, he says ‘Good morning, let me buy you a coffee.' We’d sit on the bench in the summertime and talk and laugh.”

“He was stand-up guy,” said Anthony.

Two firefighters and one EMT suffered minor injuries combating the blaze, officials said. The blaze was put out in within a half hour, said an FDNY spokesman. The cause of the fire was under investigation.