GERRITSEN BEACH — Richard Krins was found dead in his Dare Court home last week following Hurricane Sandy — but his cash-strapped family hasn't been able to lay him to rest.
“We haven't got any money to bury him," said Marie Krins, Richard Krins' sister-in-law. “We're trying to see if FEMA or anybody will be able to help.”
Neighbors found Richard Krins, 68 — one of 41 victims of the super-storm that tore through the city — in his ground-floor home in Gerritsen Beach on Oct. 31. Floodwaters still lapped the kitchen cabinets when authorities found him. Police believe he drowned.
“We kept telling him to leave, 'cause the water’s going to be bad," said Marie Krins, 68, who lived above her brother-in-law in a separate apartment. "He said, ‘No, don’t worry about it. I’m all right, I’m all right.’”
She doesn’t know why he didn’t leave.
“He didn't hear us from the front,” she said. “And we couldn't get down to the back because the water was all the way past the window.”
Marie Krins reasoned that he had already left.
A lifelong resident of Gerritsen Beach, Richard Krins worked as a baker at Teena’s Cake Fair in Canarsie for 25 years before retiring in 2010. He suffered from an inherited syndrome called Neurofibromatosis, a condition that results in painful tumors on the face and body.
Perhaps for that reason, he tended to keep to himself, Marie and neighbors said. But as the hurricane made landfall and the wind and waters rose, neighbors joined Marie in pleading for Richard to evacuate.
Neighbor Laura Houston recounted Wednesday how another neighbor, Joe, pled with Krins over the phone.
“He was the last one to speak to him, and I didn’t know,” said Houston, who drove her husband, Joe and his wife out of the neighborhood Monday. “He hung up with him and didn’t tell me.
"I'm saying, 'Come on let's go!’" she added. "The water’s coming up to my knees.”
Neighbors discovered Richard Krins’ body two days later, when they broke through the home's front window to rescue his dog, a Labrador mix that somehow managed to survive the storm.
"It was a shock," Marie said. "We're still not quite altogether with that, but you just take it day by day."
Krins's official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner. His dog was taken in by animal control.