NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One person is dead after flames ripped through a home in Queens Sunday morning.
Late Sunday, the home was empty and unlivable, with tenants taking their belongings out to stay elsewhere.
One tenant tells CBS2’s Reena Roy roughly 10 people live inside the home on 97th Avenue in Ozone Park, where authorities say flames broke out around 2:30 a.m.
“I was scared — too much scared; too much smoking like burning smell,” said tenant Aman Sandhu.
Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours, and investigators worked through the morning to determine what caused it.
Witnesses describe hearing the wife of the victim frantically asking where her husband was.
Police say 68-year-old landlord Mohinder Singh was in the basement of the home and didn’t make it out alive. When the more than 60 firefighters got the blaze under control, they found him lifeless inside.
“She realized and said: ‘Where’s my husband? Where’s my husband?’” Sandhu said.
“I think they were not able to see where he was sleeping,” tenant Harish Kumari said. “The wife came out, but she couldn’t find him. So we were asking her where he is, she said he’s somewhere in there, we can’t see, it’s all smoke.”
Orlando Alonso described Singh as “a really good person.”
“I just feel sad for them. They’re good people, they don’t bother anybody on the block,” he added.
Roughly nine others who live in three-story multi-family home woke up to thick smoke. They ran out in pajamas, rushing to safety.
“All of a sudden I woke up, then I realized it was all smoking,” Kumari said. “I didn’t know what to do.”
Investigators spent all morning going in and out of the home, trying to confirm the cause. They said it was possibly an electrical fire.
“We came downstairs and we were looking there, so there were sparks coming out from the wires on pole and then there were sparks in the ACs too there on the sides,” Kumari said.
Workers spent the day boarding up the home. For now, tenants will be staying with family members, and it is unclear when they will be able to move back in.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.