Conselyea Street Fire Sparked by Smoking Materials, FDNY Says
WILLIAMSBURG — The massive fire at 147 Conselyea St. Friday was accidentally caused by smoldering "smoking materials," according to fire officials.
The blaze, which took more than three hours to bring under control, killed one woman and left the building's other residents homeless.
The FDNY did not say the exact smoking materials that were improperly discarded or who might have been responsible for them.
"Everyone's stunned," said John Luckey, brother of Ellen Luckey, 58, who perished in the fire.
Renee Manzolillo, of Williamsburg, who runs the arts center Breakin Boundaries, said her best friends Conrad and Rose Mea had lived in the house.
"I'm devastated for them," said Manzolillo, who threw the Meas' son a 12th birthday party Sunday since he had no other place to celebrate.
"The little boy has to go back to school but he has no books, no school bag, nothing to make him feel normal," said Manzolillo between tears Monday. "He's a die-hard basketball and baseball player and he's lost every piece of equipment he's ever had."
Manzolillo said she has been collecting clothes, hairbrushes, shampoo and other essentials at her center to give the family.
"These people are neighborhood people," she said, adding that the Meas had grown up with her husband in Williamsburg. "They know every shop owner...they grew up in that house."
To honor Conrad Mea, who rescued his neighbors from the fire, Williamsburg residents have also started a petition on change.org, which earned hundreds of signatures in a matter of hours. The online petition asks Mayor Bloomberg to honor Mea with a key to the city.
"Conrad Mea is an exemplary person, who is an inspiration to us all," the petition reads. "We thank you Conrad for your bravery!"