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Man, 60, dies in Queens fire likely caused by bedroom space heater

2019-09-20

A space heater sparked at house fire that burned a man to death in his Queens bedroom Thursday night as his wife tried desperately to save his life, witnesses and FDNY sources said.

The blaze broke out in the second-story bedroom of a house on Mathias Ave. near 166th St. in Jamaica at about 8:30 p.m., as temperatures dipped to an autumnal 58 degrees.

Carolyn Reese, 63, said she plugged in the heater and left her husband, Kenny, 60, in the bedroom as she went to take a shower.

"I came back and he was screaming, ‘I’m on fire, I’m on fire!’” she said.

Kenny Reese, who was in bed, was engulfed by the flames, sources said.

Kamone Rose, 24, who lives in another room, said she also heard the victim’s screams.

“His wife, Carol, grabbed a garbage can from the bathroom and tried to put him out, but it was too late,” Rose said. "There was too much smoke and fire. We couldn’t do anything.”

Kenny Reese died at the scene.

The fire was contained to the bedroom of the two-story house, which is split into several apartments.

Firefighters had the blaze under control at about 9:20 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said. Though the cause of the blaze remains under investigation, sources said the space heater is suspected as the cause.