Brooklyn Man Trapped By Blaze in Halfway House Too Afraid To Leap From Window, Dies in Fire

NY Daily News - November 08, 2009

by Jake Pearson, Mirela Iverac and Wil Cruz

A raging fire tore through a Brooklyn halfway house Saturday, killing a man who nearly made it to safety, but couldn't bring himself to jump from a window, officials and witnesses said.

Philip Salvadon, 43, was trapped on the second floor of the Lewis Residence shelter in East New York.

He was able to smash his window and peer outside as onlookers shouted, "Jump! Jump!"

"I can't!" he cried, witnesses said.

Salvadon had moved into the shelter in July, neighbors said.

"He was screaming," said fellow resident Miguel Bonilla, 37. "All his clothes were on fire."

Bonilla had tried to push open Salvadon's door, but it was blocked from the inside. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but police said it does not appear to be suspicious.

Lewis Residence houses ex-convicts after they have completed treatment at Woodhull and Brookdale hospitals, owner Margeana Hurlock said.

She said the shelter ran a fire drill three months ago, and that a smoke detector sounded during the blaze.

Hurlock, 59, said Salvadon was terrified of cops and had become increasingly erratic.

"The world is coming to an end," Salvadon said Saturday, according to Hurlock.