Fire leaves man dead and three critically injured
By Aimee Kuvadia
Thomas Galvin, 50, died at New York-Presbyterian hospital on Saturday, from a fire that started in his second-floor apartment at 2727 University Ave. days before.
The blaze, which sent smoke billowing through the building on Sept. 12, left four people — including Mr. Galvin — critically wounded and 11 others with minor injuries, according to the FDNY.
Rafael Rodriguez, 18, who lives on the sixth floor of the building, said that a 50-year-old on the fifth floor broke a window with his arm to escape with his wife and 4-year-old child.
All three were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in critical condition, according to the FDNY.
The bricks below the window where the man tried to escape were still stained with blood on Sept. 14.
FDNY officials said they did not know how fire victims ended up at different hospitals and it was unclear if the status of any of the critically injured had changed. Eight other residents and three firefighters suffered minor injuries.
The two-alarm fire, which began at approximately 11:17 p.m., was under control by 11:40 p.m., fire officials said. The official cause has yet to be determined.
“I was in the shower when I began smelling smoke and heard breaking glass and firefighters. My mom was banging on the bathroom door, Mr. Rodriguez said, adding
“I heard the lady who lives in the apartment run out screaming, ‘My mattress is on fire!’”
Mr. Rodriguez and his mother Alicia Rodriguez, who share the apartment, said they couldn’t see anything through the smoke but managed to get out through the fire escape. Both had minor injuries from broken glass.
Using a long ladder, about 25 units and 106 firefighters from engine 81 and ladder 46 rescued residents on upper floors who would have otherwise been vulnerable to smoke inhalation, according to the FDNY.
When firefighters arrived at the six-story building around 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 14 to investigate the fire, they were confronted by Sharon Ryan, 59, who along with Mr. Galvin, lived in the apartment where the inferno began.
She said she just wanted to see if her three cats had survived, but firefighters refused to let her enter for safety reasons.