2013-08-14 / Front Page

Owner Critical In Whitestone Restaurant Blaze

By Liz Goff

Photo Devon O'ConnorPhoto Devon O'ConnorCity fire marshals are probing the cause of a blaze at a Chinese Food restaurant in Whitestone that left the owner in critical condition, with burns to more than 50 percent of his body.

Fire officials said it appears the unidentified 41-year-old man accidentally set himself on fire on August 10 when he tried to extinguish a blaze inside the Emperor House restaurant on 152-67 10th Avenue in Whitestone.

Eyewitnesses told investigators they saw the man, engulfed in a fireball, run to the street at a local strip mall at about 5 p.m. on Saturday. Shoppers and other storeowners rushed to help smother the flames, the eyewitnesses said.

The victim was taken to a local hospital and later transferred to the burn unit at Jacobi Medical Center, where he remains listed in critical condition with second-degree burns to his head and body, a fire spokesperson said.

The victim’s 36-year-old wife and 9-year-old daughter also suffered burns in the blaze, fire officials said. Both were taken to a local hospital where they were treated and released, the officials said.

Sixty-five firefighters from 12 fire units responded to the call at 5:49 p.m. on Saturday, a fire spokesperson said. The firefighters had the blaze under control at 6:24 p.m., with only minor damage to adjoining stores, the spokesperson said.

Fire marshals will release additional details, including the cause of the blaze, when they have completed their investigation, authorities said.

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