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Man Dead After Early-Morning Fire In Bronx Apartment

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TWC News: Man Dead After Early-Morning Fire In Bronx Apartment
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A fire ripped through a Bronx apartment early Saturday morning, killing a wheelchair-bound man. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Neighbor Frank Sapienza described a frantic scene Saturday morning at an apartment building on Colden Avenue.

"You saw the apartment, the smoke billowing out, and it was like a black, gray smoke just coming out the side of the door," Sapienza said. "I felt the door, a lot of heat. People were knocking, neighbors from the sixth floor came down to try to break the door down, but there was no, we couldn't get through the door."

When firefighters arrived on the scene, it was too late for one of the victims. A 24-year-old wheelchair-bound man was transported to Jacobi Medical Center for smoke inhalation and later died.

"The fire originated in the kitchen area. It was fully involved and went out into the hallway," said Battalion Chief Thomas Jemmott. "One of the rear bedrooms was where the handicapped young man was."

"They'd to see me every morning going to school with my father, so it's like, sad to see," said neighbor Oscar Ribu.

"Not much movement out of the kid, but to just say hello, give him a little pound," Sapienza said. "It's a real tragedy."

His mother was pulled to safety. The 54-year-old is now at Jacobi in critical condition, but alive, thanks to firefighter Chris Blackwell.

"I found her laying in the hallway, and I notified Captain Tracy that I found the woman, and I proceeded to drag her out into the public hallway, where other members assisted me in removing her to the street," Blackwell said.

An investigation is ongoing, but right now, the fire is not considered suspicious. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP