Brooklyn Fire Claims Life Of Father, Two Sons

NY 1 - November 19, 2009

A father and two of his children were killed Wednesday after a fire tore through their Brooklyn apartment. The New York City Police Department says Myrtel Jean, 42, Fabrice Jean, 2, and Sebastian Jean, 1, were pronounced dead at Kings County Hospital.

"They're an average happy family. The father and mother would be out here playing with the kids and in the summer cooking out," said one neighbor.

The fire broke out in the bedroom of an apartment on the top floor of a six-story building on St. Marks Avenue in Crown Heights at around 12:30 p.m. It was brought under control about 30 minutes later.

Neighbors told NY1 that the mother of the children was at work at the time of the fire.

FDNY officials say incense may have been burning in the bedroom and that the fire does not seem suspicious.

However, the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They are also investigating whether the father tried to put out the fire with water and pots and pans.

"They were just the happiest family," said one neighborhood resident. "It hurts my heart, because it's right before the holidays, you know, and it's babies."

No other apartments in the building were affected by the fire. Fire officials say response crews were initially sent to the intersection where the 911 call was placed from, instead of the actual location of the fire. The crew was then directed to the right location by a man on the street.

It is not yet known how that detour affected the response time.

"This is just another example of problems with the system," said Vice President Jim Slevin of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. "And if there was no problem, the fire department should release the tapes and we should hear what the caller actually stated. But we're being told by the firefighters that they would have been there quicker had they been sent to the right address."

Slevin also says that ever since the city's new Unified Call Taker system was installed six months ago, fire crews are being sent to the wrong address on a daily basis.

The FDNY says it is looking into the address issue.