A 56-year-old man in the Flatlands section died in his apartment after his cigarette started a fire. Sixty fire fighters responded to the one alarm fire that broke out around 7:45AM on 1275 East 51 Street. The FDNY had it under control within 20 minutes of responsing, but they were unable to save the apartment's dweller, Harvey Kudisch.
Neighbors describe the widower as a heavy smoker, with one telling the Post, "The smoke got so bad you couldn't go out in the hallway. People had to go out on their terraces until they put it out." Kudisch would also be a familiar sight smoking on the apartment building's front steps.
Kudisch, who recently had a lung removed, also seemed sad after his wife's 2002 death, with another friend saying, "After he lost her, he didn't care anymore to live. You could see the life draining out of him." And the NY Times says that Kudisch and his son were in the news back in 2003, after their apartment had been vandalized and looted by burglars, "who had burned a swastika into the ceiling and had written anti-Semitic slogans on the walls."
The FDNY reminds people, "Do not smoke in bed. Make sure all cigarette butts are extinguished before discarding" as well as to "Test your smoke detector regularly and replace batteries twice a year when you change your clock for Daylight Savings."