Blaze at Brooklyn High-rise, Fueled by Hoarding, Killed Firefighter

Posted: 7/7/2014

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A Brooklyn firefighter was mourned on Sunday after being killed in a high-rise fire.

The fire was sparked by a pinched extension cord in an apartment described as "Collyer's mansion conditions," referring to the famous Harlem mansion filled with tons of hoarded items.

Lt. Gordon Matthew Ambelas was a 14-year veteran of the fire department and died Saturday in a blaze.

Angel Pagan, 51, lived in the apartment the fire started in and denies that his home was filled with debris.  The bedroom air conditioner was plugged into an extension cord that also powered his TV, DVD player, VCR, and living room chandelier.

Pagan says that he was forced to over use the extension cord because his outlet was broken and the Housing Authority ignored requests to fix it.

Pagan said, "I called maybe 10 times, starting around two or three years ago.  But nobody ever came to fix it."

Firefighters said that the apartment was jammed with fans and assorted trophies, making it nearly impossible to move during the firefighting process.

Neighbors confirmed it was messy.

He's got a lot of plugs...lot of wires," said Noreida Santiago, a neighbor.

Madonna Hernandez, 28, who stays at the apartment next door said, "[The apartment] was definitely overstuffed.  If he finds something on the street, he'll take it home.  He's that kind of person."

Pagan said, "I don't have a lot of stuff.  Only what is necessary."

Ambelas left behind a wife and two daughters.  A fund is being set-up in their names.

 

 

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