One Dead, Several Injured in Queens House Fire

NY Daily News - February 05, 2020

by CATHERINA GIOINO and JOHN ANNESE

An elderly man died Tuesday after a fire erupted in his Queens home, authorities said. The blaze started on the second floor of a house on 56th St. near 39th Ave. in Woodside just before 3:30 p.m. The 72-year-old victim was found in a second-floor bathroom at the house, authorities said.

The two-alarm blaze also spread to a neighboring home, bringing 25 FDNY units and 106 fire personnel to combat the flames, an FDNY spokesman said.

Firefighters removed the victim from the home in critical condition and medics rushed him to Elmhurst Hospital, but he couldn’t be saved. His name was not immediately released. Neighbors knew him by the nickname “Papi.”

“He would sit on the porch in this little old beach chair,” said neighbor Matthew McGuckin, 59. “I used to call him Papi. Older guy but really nice guy. Sit on the porch, go buy flowers and put them in a vase. He really was an eccentric type of guy.”

McGuckin’s wife, Anju, 40, said the victim lived alone, though occasionally a woman would visit to help him.

"I never see him with a family. He lives alone,” she said. “And today he died. I feel bad.”

Dario Pilamala, who lives next door, recalled the victim, whom he described as quiet, had trouble getting around.

“It’s really sad,” Pilamala said. “He just kept to himself.”

Another resident and eight firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blaze, officials said.

Firefighters remained at the scene Tuesday evening.