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Staten Island Man Dies in Predawn Fire, Officials Say

By  Nicholas Rizzi and Aidan Gardiner | January 15, 2013 7:06am | Updated on January 15, 2013 12:35pm

WESTERLEIGH — A 69-year-old man died after a fire tore through his Demorest Avenue home early Tuesday, officials said.

William Steiniger went into cardiac arrest after a blaze broke out in his house at 360 Demorest Ave., near Watchogue Road, about 4:40 a.m., FDNY officials said.

Steiniger was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where he later died, according to the NYPD.

"He was a very nice neighbor," said a woman who lived two doors down from Steiniger, but declined to be named. "He helped me whenever he could. He helped anybody."

The fire was brought under control approximately 45 minutes later, officials said.

Police don't suspect any criminality was involved, but the cause of the fire was being investigated by fire marshals.

Neighbors said some houses along Demorest Avenue lost their power about 3 a.m. An overhead transformer was down, too, after it blew a fuse, a Con Edison spokesman said.

The fire erupted some time later, but the spokesman said there was no immediate indication that the electrical problems had anything to do with the blaze.