QUEENS — A Forest Hills apartment fire that left a man dead after he ran out of the building in flames was sparked by a cigarette the victim had been smoking in bed, fire officials said.
Ramon Rahim, 59, was inside his second-floor apartment in the three-story building at 111-29 66th Ave., near the Grand Central Parkway, with his 30-year-old nephew when the blaze broke out about 10:20 a.m. Tuesday, police and fire officials said.
Rahim was seen engulfed in flames when he ran out into the courtyard, where he collapsed, neighbors and FDNY officials said.
Neighbors tried to save the man by pouring water on him, but he succumbed to his injuries, officials said.
The nephew, who suffered severe burns, jumped out a window to escape the flames, officials said. He was initially treated at New York-Presbyterian/Queens but later transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center where he was listed in serious condition, officials said.
Neighbors described Rahim as a heavy smoker but said that he usually smoked in the courtyard.
Fire officials said the blaze started in the victim's bed near the front door but that the fire was small and caused very little damage to the inside of the apartment.
There was also a broken smoke detector in the unit, according to the FDNY.