2018-05-16 / Front Page

Body Found In Attic Day After Elmhurst Blaze

By Liz Goff
Seven firefighters suffered serious injuries while battling a smoky, stubborn inferno at an Elmhurst home on May 11th. Four residents were also injured, one critically, in the fast moving blaze that followed an explosion on the second floor of the two-story home at 40-46 Case Street, fire officials said.

More than 100 firefighters arrived at the scene at about 5:10 a.m. to find there were no working smoke alarms in the home, and that some of the residents were trapped by heavy flames and smoke on the second floor of the wood structure, fire officials said.

Residents told investigators they were awakened just before dawn by the explosion that “broke all the windows” in the house and set off the massive blaze. “People were screaming. Everybody was running from the house half-dressed,” residents said.

Firefighters pulled one man from the blaze, who was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center with critical burn injuries. The man was later transferred to the burn unit at Jacobi Medical Center where he was listed in critical condition.

Firefighters returning to the scene on May 12th made a grisly discovery - the body of a 39-year-old man who was found dead in the attic of the home. A stairway collapse had prevented firefighters from reaching the top-floor residence immediately after the fire was extinguished at about 7:28 a.m., fire officials said.

The victim’s relatives told police they went to several hospitals and to the Red Cross in search of the man. Shortly after the relatives went to a local police precinct to report the man missing, fire officials and police returned to the home where they found the body in the attic, authorities said. The city medical examiner will determine the approximate time and cause of death, authorities said.

Fire marshals ruled that faulty electrical wiring accidentally ignited the blaze, fire officials said.

The Elmhurst blaze erupted less than five hours after firefighters finished battling another two-alarm fire n Jackson Heights, where victims were forced to jump from windows to escape heavy smoke and flames.

Two young cousins pulled from the blaze remain at the Weill-Conell Medical Center Burn Unit in critical but stable condition.







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