The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Two peo­ple were killed last Satur­day when sep­a­rate fires raged through two houses in the Bronx early that morn­ing — the blazes less than three blocks apart, wit­nesses and fire of­fi­cials said.

The deadly pre-dawn tragedies left four oth­ers hos­pi­tal­ized and neigh­bors and friends reel­ing with grief.

The ear­lier blaze started around 3:15 a.m. in the base­ment apart­ment that 64-year-old Clau­dia Bret­ney shared with her boyfriend on Beach Ave. near McGraw Ave. in Parkch­ester, of­fi­cials and wit­nesses said.

The fire ap­pears to have been sparked by a space heater, sources said.

The fast-burn­ing flames quickly spread through­out the house and Bret­ney was trapped by the smoke and fire.

The pop­u­lar St. Lu­cia na­tive moved to the area with her boyfriend about five years ago from Florida. She was known for her cook­outs and church out­ings, friends told the Daily News.

“She was a great per­son,” said Au­gus­tus Evans, 49. “I knew her since I was a lit­tle kid.”

Bret­ney and Evans both hailed from Monchy.

It took fire­fight­ers al­most an hour to bring the blaze un­der con­trol, of­fi­cials said. Bret­ney was taken to Ja­cobi Med­i­cal Cen­ter where she died.

Bret­ney’s boyfriend and an­other woman were both in crit­i­cal con­di­tion at Ja­cobi, FDNY Bat­tal­ion Chief Vin­cent Mosca said.

Two other men were hos­pi­tal­ized for smoke in­hala­tion.

“I heard peo­ple scream­ing,” said Car­men Vur­gos, 60, who lives next to the home. “I was scared the fire was go­ing to go to my house.”

Her­mia Marin, 46, said Bret­ney’s death struck a per­sonal nerve be­cause she had com­forted her af­ter a fire tore through her own apart­ment on Dec 27.

“She prayed with me, she helped me, cooked food for me,” Marin said.

“She was a beau­ti­ful per­son, a good heart, one of the best I’ve ever known.”


Fire­fight­ers in­ves­ti­gate the firescene in the Bronx.

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