Incense May Have Caused Fatal Crown Heights Fire

NY Post - November 20, 2009

Fire investigators believe a fire that killed two toddlers and their father may have been started by burning incense in a bedroom.

Investigators also uncovered evidence that 42-year-old Myrtel Jean tried to put the fire out first instead of calling 911. They say there were no smoke alarms in the Crown Heights, Brooklyn residence.

Jean and his children, 1-year-old Sebastian and 2-year-old Fabrice, died in the blaze. Their mother was not home when the fire broke out around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

According to a chief who responded, as well as the firefighter's union, firefighters from Engine 280/Ladder 132 lost more than four minutes because they were dispatched to a location a block away on Rogers Avenue after the 911 call came in at 12:27 p.m.

FDNY officials disagreed. They said companies responded near an intersection given by 911 callers.

Less than two weeks ago, on Nov. 7, a 911 operator's typo sent firefighters racing to a wrong address in Woodside, Queens, as three men died in a fire a mere three blocks away in an illegally converted home.