An elderly Air Force veteran who helped save his wife and eight-months-pregnant daughter from their burning Queens home yesterday died after he ran back inside to grab his cellphone, authorities said.
The blaze erupted in the home of Nathan Lagree, 75, on Zoller Road near Sidway Place in Springfield Gardens at 6:20 a.m. when an electrical wire short-circuited, fire officials said.
Lagree's daughter, Patricia, was getting ready for work when she heard an explosion.
"All of a sudden, smoke was filling up the house," she told The Post. "My father and I went down, and we saw the boiler or furnace on fire. It was just completely in flames."
Lagree helped his wife of 40 years, Betty, who has trouble walking, and Patricia to safety as flames engulfed the basement.
But then, "my father wanted to go back into the house for his cellphone, and I wouldn't let him go back in alone," Patricia said.
So both went back into the burning one-family home, but "the smoke got too much," she said. "My father was ahead of me, and I lost sight of him."
Patricia crawled to safety, but her father remained trapped in the kitchen."