2005-03-10 / Front Page

85-YEAR-OLD DIES IN FIRE

By Charles Rogers

Fire Marshals converse outside house on East 51st Street, between Flatlands Avenue and Avenue J, where a fire killed 85-year-old woman Saturday.Seth GottfriedFire Marshals converse outside house on East 51st Street, between Flatlands Avenue and Avenue J, where a fire killed 85-year-old woman Saturday.Seth Gottfried A fire on East 51st Street near Avenue J that supposedly started as a result of a burning candle left unattended, claimed the life of an 85-year-old woman early last Saturday, officials said.

The victim, Carmen Burreau, who lived in the ground-floor walk-in apartment below her son’s apartment in the brick house, was found at the bottom of a staircase leading to the second floor. Firemen discovered her body after breaking down her door, officials said. They carried her outside to try to revive her and paramedics took her immediately to Beth Israel Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.

According to Fire Department spokesperson Firefighter Robert Opalecky, the all-hands fire required 12 units, including engine and ladder companies from the surrounding areas, and at least 65 firefighters to quell the blaze, which neighbors reported at 4:59 a.m. The fire was declared under control at 5:30 a.m. Besides Mrs. Burreau, another civilian was slightly injured, Opalecky said, but the person, whose name was not released, was treated at the scene.

Neighbors and Mrs. Burreau’s son, Raul Celestin, said they called 911 when thick, acrid smoke started to permeate the air, according to reports. They ran outside and then discovered the victim was not among them, but it was too late to go back in.

Although the burned candle appeared to start the blaze, fire marshals are continuing their investigation.

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