SI Fire Kills Elderly Man

NY Post - December 13, 2009


A fatal fire sparked in the living room of a Staten Island housing project apartment this morning killed an elderly man and sent his wife to the hospital, authorities said.

The Fire Department responded to the 7:12 a.m. call from 115 Cassidy Place in the Cassidy Lafayette Houses, which is described by residents as a senior living complex.

Firefighters found an unconscious John Anscett, 76, being assisted by his wife, Lucille, 70, in the hallway outside of their smoldering apartment, according to Fire Chief Anthony Orlandi.

"It started in the living room. We got the fire under control quickly," he said.

Both John and Lucille were transport to Richmond University Hospital where John was pronounced dead. Lucille was later discharged.

Though the official cause of the blaze is still under investigation, a police source said it was an electrical appliance, perhaps an iron that sparked the tragic flames.

Neighbor, Katie Terllong, 74 said she tried to help the couple flee the apartment, but the older man, who relied on a motorized wheel chair and on oxygen couldn't make it to safety and collapsed.

"I saw smoke, and I went upstairs and saw Jack in the hallway. I tried to help him, but he just fell by the stairwell. He was trying to get outside," said Terllong.