NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police released surveillance photos of a man they say doused a woman and set her on fire in an elevator in Brooklyn Saturday.
The tragedy happened at 203 Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights.
Residents told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin they first heard screaming, then saw the smoke, and finally realized a woman was on fire inside.
“Myself and someone from the sixth floor went down knocking to get people out. Knocking on doors telling people ‘There’s a fire, get out, get out,” said resident John.
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Along with his neighbors, John made it the first floor just as firefighters were pushing their way in to the charred elevator and the body of the woman burned alive.
Neighbor Carmen Martinez says the victim’s name is Delores. She’s believed to be in her 60’s and lived in the fifth floor apartment since the early 1980s.
“Buena she was real nice. She knew her for 30 years, used to give toys and gifts to kids all the time,” Martinez said.
The victim, a single mother, lives with one of her two adult sons. Police say she was returning from a shopping trip when the elevator doors opened and the man doused her with the flammable liquid, using a lighter to set her on fire.
The building’s super showed investigators the building’s many cameras, one in the elevator and two that cover the doors.
“They haven’t told me anything. I’m just waiting for an answer when should I get in,” neighbor Daniel Vedrine told Carlin.
He and other residents left waiting in the cold were directed to a heated city bus and told to be patient for a process that could take many hours.
Investigators tell CBS 2 it will be early morning before the body is removed from this building and tenants are allowed back in their homes.
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