Woman Dies, 2 Firefighters Injured in Queens Blaze

NY Post - January 08, 2018

by Amanda Woods

A woman was killed when a fire broke out in her Queens home on Sunday, authorities said.

The blaze broke out around 11:20 a.m. inside 60-year-old Rita Sklar’s Bayside home on 217th Street near 67th Avenue.

First responders rushed Sklar to North Shore University Hospital, but she could not be saved, police said.

David Wong, 60, who lives across the street, said he and his family saw the flames rising from a small bedroom on the second floor of Sklar’s home.

“We heard a woman screaming,” he said. “We didn’t know [if that was] her, and we saw the fire. And then the fire department came, and a few minutes later, I saw [the firefighters] doing chest compressions trying to save her, and then they took her away. And later afternoon, I heard that she passed away unfortunately.”

Sklar and her husband had lived in the building for about 10 years, according to Wong. Her husband wasn’t home at the time of the blaze.

Wong said he heard Sklar had been suffering from brain cancer.

Two firefighters were also taken to area hospitals to be treated for minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

The fire was extinguished by around 12:15 p.m., and the cause remained under investigation Sunday afternoon. The city Medical Examiner’s office will officially determine Sklar’s cause of death.