Queens Man Dies Days After Being Burned When Package Explodes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 73-year-old Queens man has died four days after a package that had been left on his porch exploded and burned him.

George Wray, a building landlord, died Tuesday while hospitalized at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, police sources said.

Cell phone video captured Wray doubled over in pain after he opened the mysterious package left on his porch on 222nd Street in Springfield Gardens.

A tenant said he noticed the package on his doorstep earlier in the week but just put it to the side because he didn’t recognize the name it was addressed to.

Police say while the package had no postal information, it was addressed to a first name. They said the package sat in front of the home for days until Wray came by and opened it.

A man named Thomas was one of several neighbors who threw wet towels to Wray.

“I saw a man lying in the grass and he was actually on his knees and he was on fire,” Thomas said. “He was screaming out in pain. Lot of pain, because the flames engulfed his whole top half.”

“He was burned all over his body from head to toe,” neighbor Audrice Campbell said.

The bomb squad spent the next several hours collecting evidence and testing residue on the brick wall and front door of the home. They found a cylinder-shaped package roughly the size of an oatmeal box filled with black powder — possibly gunpowder used in antique firearms.

Detectives called it a low grade explosive.

Following the explosion, Wray was left with second-degree burns on 80 percent of his body.

The cause of Wray’s death is pending an autopsy and a ruling by the New York City Medical Examiner’s office, but it is presumed to be a homicide, source said.

An active investigation continued late Tuesday, and there had been no arrests.

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