NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two people are dead and six people are recovering in the hospital after a fire ripped through an apartment building in the Parkchester section of the Bronx early Saturday morning.

Neighbors woke up to an active scene as firefighters battled the flames that broke out on the 10th floor of 1970 East Tremont Ave. just after 1 a.m.

“I could smell something burning,” neighbor Michel Criscuoli told CBS2’s Reena Roy. “Saw more fire engines than I’d ever seen.”

“Firemen were running all over the place. And you just start hearing windows getting broken out, stuff was coming out the windows real fast,” neighbor Mark D’Ambrosi added.

When smoke cleared and things got under control in the 13-story tower, police say 75-year-old John Quinones was found unconscious and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi.


“I was shocked,” building resident Errol Barrett said. “Very, very shocked.”

A second man who wasn’t immediately identified was found deceased in the hallway.

“We saw about three of them come out on stretchers,” D’Ambrosi said. “One of them did not look good and you can only assume the worst from that.”

The medical examiner will investigate the official cause of death, but police said both victims appeared to have died from smoke inhalation.

Neighbors remembered the two men as friendly people who kept to themselves.

“Good people, keep to themselves, clean, mind their business — good neighbors,” one said.

“I’m so sorry. I am so sorry. My heart breaks for them,” another added.


Four other civilians were hurt — two in serious condition and two critical — plus two firefighters sustained minor injuries.

The city Fire Marshal’s Office will work to determine the cause of the blaze, which at this time does not appear to be suspicious.