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'Perfect Mother' Dies in Crown Heights Electrical Fire, Daughter Says

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | August 10, 2017 8:50am | Updated on August 10, 2017 7:07pm

 Gertrude Duncan, inset, was found dead and another woman burned her hands, police said.
Gertrude Duncan, inset, was found dead and another woman burned her hands, police said.
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DNAinfo/Trevor Kapp and Handout

CROWN HEIGHTS — An elderly woman was found dead and another suffered burned hands after an electrical fire tore through a Pacific Street building early Thursday morning, police said.

Firefighters found Gertrude Duncan, 81, on the first floor of 1347 Pacific St., near New York Avenue, when they brought the two-hour blaze under control about 2:30 a.m. after it erupted on the first floor, according to FDNY and NYPD officials.

"My son said, 'There's smoke! There's smoke!' I woke up and tried to get her out. Her door was closed because she liked her privacy. My son grabbed me. Smoke was inside," said Duncan's daughter Barbara Wilson, 65.

Wilson was bereft over her mother's sudden death.

"It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. Oh God, it hurts," Wilson said.

The other woman injured in the fire, a 49 year old, was treated at New York-Presbyterian/Weil Cornell Medical Center, where she was listed in serious but stable condition, officials said. Her relationship to Duncan wasn't immediately clear.

Duncan was a beloved mother of seven who valued an orderly home, her daughter said.

"She was the greatest mother, the perfect mother," Wilson said.

"She loved cleaning. She loved straightening her place and making it look good. She folded clothes better than me," her daughter added.

Duncan, who immigrated to Brooklyn from Jamaica 30 years ago and has seven children, was a beloved fixture in the neighborhood.

"She was loving everyone, and everyone loved her. She always liked to talk to people and sit outside," Wilson said.

"Not everybody on the block gets along, but she made everyone get along," her daughter added.

Other relatives agreed.

"She was a sweet, kind, giving lady. She helped me grow up. She was a very caring person. She not only took care of her children, but she took care of me as well. It's tough right now," said her nephew Michael Duncan, 53.

"She's gonna be dearly missed on this block. It's just so sad. We all know we have to pass away, but not like this," he added.

The FDNY announced on Thursday afternoon that the cause of the fire was accidental, tweeting that an overloaded power strip caused the flames.

The Medical Examiner will determine how Duncan died.