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Man Dies in Courtyard After Escaping Apartment Blaze, Officials Say

By  Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska and Aidan Gardiner | October 10, 2017 11:29am | Updated on October 10, 2017 3:48pm

 One man died in a Forest Hills apartment fire Tuesday, officials said.
One man died in a Forest Hills apartment fire Tuesday, officials said.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

FOREST HILLS — A man died after running out of an apartment blaze that also sent his nephew leaping from a second-story window Tuesday morning, officials said.

The two men, 59-year-old Ramon Rahim and his nephew, 30, were inside a unit at 111-29 66th Ave., near the Grand Central Parkway, when flames erupted there about 10:20 a.m., police and neighbors said.

Rahim was engulfed in flames when he ran from the apartment into the courtyard, where he collapsed dead, neighbors and police said.

"I looked through the window and saw the guy, he was on fire," said Ofelia Lingad, 69, who lives on the first floor. She said another neighbor from the third floor ran downstairs, and tried to save the victim by pouring water on him. 

"He also took his shirt off and tried to put out the flames with it," she said.

The victim's badly burned nephew leaped from a window and suffered life-threatening injuries, officials said. He was initially treated at New York-Presbyterian/Queens but later transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, officials said.

Rahim's cousin, who did not want her name to be used, said he did not work and that his sister was taking care of him, but she was away in Florida at the time of the fire.

Ramon Rahim died after running out of an apartment blaze. (Photo: Family handout)

Neighbors said Rahim was friendly.

"He was a very nice and respectful man," said Frank Lingad, 74. "He smoked a lot, but always in the courtyard." 

Another neighbor, Gladys Gurato, 61, described Rahim as "a quiet person" who "kept to himself."

"He used to sit there and smoke a cigarette every day, he always said ‘hello’ to everybody," she said. "He liked to talk about church and the Bible."

About 60 firefighters had brought the blaze under control by 10:53 a.m., officials said.

Fire officials at the scene said that the blaze was small and that there was very little damage inside the apartment.

It wasn't immediately clear what sparked the fire, but it does not appear to be suspicious, officials said.

They also said there was a non-functioning smoke detector in the apartment.

Correction: The photo in an earlier version of this story depicted a different fire scene in Queens.