WILLIAMSBURG — Two days after a blaze destroyed a Williamsburg apartment building, killing two and displacing nine others, neighbors are collecting cash to help those who lost their homes.
Police named Susanne Walsko, 57, as one of the fatalities Wednesday.
Neighbors said a man found dead in the basement of the building was Walsko's boyfriend, but he was too badly burned for police to positively identify. Investigators are awaiting dental records.
The fire began at 30 Richardson St. about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and spread to 28 Richardson St. Both buildings have been ordered fully vacated by the Department of Buildings, according to records and fire officials. The fire was deemed an accident on Tuesday.
FDNY Fire Marshals: Cause of 12/28 5-alarm fire at 30 Richardson St in #Williamsburg – accidental electrical, wiring in ceiling of basement— FDNY (@FDNY) December 29, 2015
"It's such a tragedy," said Blair Papagni, 35, who's lived on the block for eight years and started a GoFundMe page to help her displaced neighbors.
Papagni remembered Walsko as a wonderful neighbor.
"She lived next door to me the entire time I've lived in Williamsburg. She was always smiling and made a point of saying hi to my kids whenever she saw them," said Papagni, who's the mother of three children, all under 10 years old.
Walsko used to help an elderly neighbor by bringing her food and stopping in to check on her, Papagni said.
"She was a really lovely person, just a genuinely nice person."
Triggs Brown, 27, who also works in the food industry, started the page on behalf of a number of friends who met Crochet while they were all working in the kitchen at Colicchio and Sons in 2012.
They started publicizing the page through Facebook and text messages and were flooded with support from friends in the food industry, Brown said, raising more than $7,000 in two days.
Of the nine residents who were displaced, three have been in touch with the Red Cross for help finding a place to stay, according to the city's Office of Emergency Management.