Two die in raging Flatlands fire

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By Thomas Tracy

An illegal electricity hook-up at a Flatlands home may have sparked a blaze that killed two building occupants early Sunday, officials said.

FDNY marshals said that the jerry-rigged wiring was one of several possible leads into what sparked the fire inside the two-story home on Avenue K near East 39th Street at 5 a.m. on July 12.

Horrified neighbors tried to rescue the two victims, identified in published reports as 40-year-old Danny Campbell and 35-year-old Nigel Reuben, but were unable to get close enough to help them..

Witnesses said that they could see one of the two victims begging for help and praying from a second-floor window before they were overcome by smoke and flames.

Some told the victims to jump, but the attempt was never made.

Others broke down the door but were immediately forced back by the smoke and the raging flames, grieving neighbors and family members said.

Nine firefighters suffered injuries as they put out the fire. It took nearly an hour to beat back the flames.

As the smoke from the extinguished fire billowed down the street, neighbors saw the one thing many of them were trying to avoid: Reuben and Campbell’s remains covered in a tarp.

A firefighter at the scene said that the home was “gutted” by flames.

The third-alarm blaze was so extensive that the flames managed to scorch adjoining homes even though the wood frame home was separated by driveways on either side.

Fire officials said no fire alarms were found inside the home.

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