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Fatal Staten Island Fire Caused By Electrical Fault, Officials Say

By  Nicholas Rizzi and Aidan Gardiner | January 16, 2013 11:57am 

WESTERLEIGH — A fatal early-morning Staten Island fire was caused by an electrical malfunction, officials said.

William Steiniger, 69, went into cardiac arrest after an electrical problem in the basement set his home at 360 Demorest Ave. ablaze around 4:40 a.m., FDNY officials said.

He was taken to Richmond University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, according to the NYPD.

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

Neighbors had reported power outages in some homes on the block at around 3 a.m. after an overhead transformer went down after blowing a fuse, a Con Edison spokesman said.

Fire officials could not say if the electrical problems in Steiniger’s basement had any link to the power outage on the block.

Residents on Demorest Avenue remembered Steiniger as a kind man who always helped other neighbors on the block.

"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."