Fatal Brooklyn Apartment Fire Claims 56-Year-Old Victim, Injures Four Others

NY Daily News - August 12, 2017

by ANDY MAI JOHN ANNESE

A blaze at a Brooklyn apartment building left one person dead and four more hurt Thursday night, an FDNY spokesman said.

The fire started in a second-floor apartment of a six-story building on Kingston Ave. by Lefferts Ave. just after 10:05 p.m. The blaze spread to the third floor, and firefighters brought it under control just over 40 minutes later.

Firefighters found one victim dead, badly burned, inside the second-floor building where the blaze began, police sources said. He was later identified as 56-year-old Rupert Smith.

"I was in the apartment and it got smoky,” Gary Lawson, 73, who lived in the apartment with his roommate Smith, said. "I heard him yell 'Fire!' and I kept calling him and I couldn't find him. I thought he had left already."

By the time he escaped and called 911, the apartment was filled with smoke.

Medics took four others to Kings County Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, the FDNY spokesman said.

Shatoya Killings, 36, who lives on the sixth floors, said she tried to send her two children downstairs, but the smoke was too intense for them.

“The kids were coming back up because they were overtaken by the smoke,” she said. “So we had to make our way through the fire escape.”

She added, “"It was just very intense smoke. I was feeling panicked but at the same time I knew I had to get everyone out."

Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the blaze, authorities said.