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Fierce Brooklyn Blaze Leaves Woman Dead

By DNAinfo Staff on June 2, 2012 9:30am  | Updated on June 3, 2012 12:34pm

Fire trucks lined up for a fire on June 1, 2012 at 147 Conselyea Street.
Fire trucks lined up for a fire on June 1, 2012 at 147 Conselyea Street.
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DNAinfo/Michael Ventura

By Jesse Lent and Jess Wisloski

DNAinfo.com New York Reporters

WILLIAMSBURG — A fire that took hold of a 5-story residential building Friday night in Brooklyn left one woman dead in its path.

Police said a woman who lived on the third floor, and was 59 years old, died at the scene.

A neighbor identified the woman as Ellen Luckey, and her brother John confirmed that on Sunday morning.

The FDNY received a call at 9:16 p.m. for a blaze at 147 Conselyea Street in Williamsburg. By the time the responders arrived, the fire had taken over the third and fourth floors of the 8-unit apartment building. It took firefighters until 11:54 p.m. to put the fire down, a battalion chief said.

A resident of the building, Marty Freda, 37, works around the corner at Tony's Pizza, and said he heard about the fire from his sister Rose, who also lives in the building just above the deceased woman's unit.

147 Conselyea Street, where a June 1, 2012 fire left one woman dead.
147 Conselyea Street, where a June 1, 2012 fire left one woman dead.
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DNAinfo/Jesse Lent

"I came running up. The whole house was on fire," he said. "My brother-in-law had already gotten everyone out, except for the lady in 3R." He said the woman had lived in the building for at least 14 years.

Tamara Rosenberg, 37, a nearby resident, said she passed by the building at 9:15 p.m.

"I could see just a few flames coming out of one of the floors, and when I walked just a block, the whole thing was ablaze," she said. "It was kind of crazy how quickly it spread," she said. 

At the time, she noticed that firefighters hadn't begun working yet, but were on the scene. "They hadn't even really started with the water. They were still setting themselves up," she said.

At the scene of the blaze on Saturday, contractors were putting wooden boarding up over open windows on the building, and fire officials said the incident was still under investigation.

Michael Brown, chief for Battalion 32, said the fire got so bad, the firefighters moved their operation from the inside to the outside.

"We went to an exterior operation, because there was too much fire, and [it was] too much of a danger to us," he said.

"The whole neighborhood was watching," recalled Rosenberg. "Everyone was filming it too. I didn't think that was appropriate."

Margaret Falco, 60, who has lived in the building for 32 years, said she would never have known to get out of the building if it wasn't for Rose Freda and her husband Conrad Mea, who knocked on doors and ushered their neighbors out of the fire to safety.

"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have even known," said Falco. Falco's husband, Robert, was nowhere in site, and she began to panic.

"Rose said, 'You can't go back for anything,'" she said. "I thought my husband was in there, I didn't know he went out the back. When the firemen got here, I was screaming," she said.

Despite losing everything in the fire, she said at least has a place to sleep tonight. The family had renters' insurance, so she and her husband will be staying at a nearby hotel.

The landlord, who lived nearby, could not be immediately reached for comment, but his son said the man was looking into the fire.