|Fire Marshal's continue to investigate the source |
of the Decatur Avenue fire that
killed a long time resident. (Photo by David Greene)
A Saturday afternoon fire on the top floor of a five-story Decatur Avenue building in Norwood claimed the life of a 37-year-old resident Chris Podesta who died of smoke inhalation, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Press officers for the fire and police departments could not confirm the death by press time, but neighbors confirmed that it was Podesta who had died in the fire.
One resident of the block, who declined to give his name for this article, stood in shock after firefighters removed his friend Podesta from the building.
"They brought him out and he was all full of smoke and they were performing CPR on him,” the resident said.
Another resident, a young woman in her 20s who also declined to give her name, said Podesta will be missed. "He was always the guy who would watch and defend us," she said.
A Fire Department spokesman could only provide a few basic details, saying that the fire, "was still under investigation." He did not know if someone had died in the fire.
The spokesman did say the FDNY responded to calls of a fire at 3212 Decatur Ave. at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, July 23. Arriving units discovered the top floor apartment of the five-story building engulfed in flames. A total of 12 units and 60 firefighters were used to bring the fire under control.
Office of the City's Medical Examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove confirmed Podesta’s death, saying, "I have a 37-year old male white, he died from (a) smoke inhalation accident at that location."
Podesta was pronounced dead at Montefiore Medical Center. One firefighter was also treated for minor injuries at St. Barnabas Hospital.
Podesta is the second resident on the block to perish in an accidental fire in as many years. Gloria Ford, another long-time resident of the block, died in the Summer of 2009.