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Two Women Found Dead in Burning Chinatown Building Were Shot, Police Say

By  Serena Solomon Ben Fractenberg and Amy Zimmer | June 29, 2012 11:49am | Updated on June 29, 2012 7:22pm

CHINATOWN — Two women whose bodies were found in a burning Chinatown building Friday were shot in the head, authorities said.

Firefighters were treating the blaze at a tenement building at 83 Henry St. as suspicious.

"There was a fire and, at the scene of the fire, two female bodies were found, [who] were shot" NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said, about the women who were found in the bedroom of a first floor apartment.

The FDNY responded to a 911 call about the fire at 10:40 a.m.

More than 60 firefighters responded to the blaze, and witnesses said they saw emergency workers administer CPR and try to revive one of the victims, a woman whose clothes appeared to have burned off in pieces, they said.

The two victims were between the ages of 40 and 50, fire officials said.

Valentine Rodriguez, who takes out the trash for 83 Henry St., said he didn't know the women or how many people lived in the apartment where the fire occurred.

"There could be one [person] one day and 10 there the next," he said.

Fire Chief Michael McPartland said there were two fires: one in the kitchen and one in the bedroom on an apartment on the ground floor.

The fire was contained within 20 minutes, FDNY officials said.

The building had two hazardous open violations, according to the Department of Building's website. Inspectors in 2007 and 2008 found a rear exit on the first floor obstructed by garbage cans and boxes.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.