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Floral Park man dies in blaze after dozing off with cigarette

Officials stand outside a house after firefighters doused the upper floor with water to extinguish a blaze that killed a 63-year-old man. Photo by Phil Corso
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Floral Park man died in his bed Tuesday morning after police said he fell asleep while smoking a cigarette.

Emergency responders swarmed the home on 268th Street after police in the 105th Precinct received a call around 8:17 a.m. about a fire inside the home, where they found 63-year-old George Kearney in the attic with severe burns throughout his body, the NYPD said.

The man was pronounced dead at nearby North Shore-LIJ Health System just one block away, police said.

According to the NYPD, Kearney was lying in bed smoking when he apparently fell asleep, setting the stage for his cigarette to spark the fire and spread throughout the upper floor of the home. He was the only one in the home at the time of the incident, but he lived there with his wife, police said.

By the time firefighters were finished putting out the flames, the entire second floor was blackened, dripping with water and smelling of ashes.

The blaze charred the siding along the right side of the house near an attic window and firefighters were finished dousing the home with water by about 9:45 a.m.

Neighbors at the scene, who did not want to be identified, said the man was alone at the time of the fire and appeared unconscious as he was carried out on a stretcher.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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