A deadly inferno engulfed a Park Slope apartment building on Wednesday morning, claiming the life of a firefighter-in-training and his girlfriend, and shuttering a recently-opened jazz club on the building’s ground floor.
Authorities rushed to the scene on Fifth Avenue between Lincoln and St. Johns places at around 2:07 am, where New York’s Bravest spent nearly an hour battling the blaze that broke out on the building’s fourth floor.
Steven Munoz — who had been training to join the Fire Department — was asleep with his girlfriend Destiny Marmoles when the fire broke out inside their apartment located at the front of the building. Firefighters, who had entered the building through a rear fire escape, found the couple already unconscious after fighting through the blaze, according to authorities.
Paramedics rushed the victims to Methodist Hospital, where doctors pronounced Munoz dead early in the morning. Marmoles was pronounced dead later in the afternoon.
A relative — who asked to be identified only as John — claimed that Munoz was an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, who had just started training to join the Fire Department.
“He could have done anything with his life,” said John.
The ground floor of the brownstone is home to the Made in New York Jazz Club, which opened just three months ago — and the owner says the building is so damaged by the blaze that he has no idea if he’ll be able to reopen.
“It all smells like barbecue,” said Boris Bangiyev.
A next-door neighbor told reporters that his six-year-old Boston terrier woke him as his room filled up with smoke, and said he was thankful the fire didn’t spread throughout the building.
“Their door being closed probably saved all of our lives,” said the neighbor, who identified himself as Joe.
Photo by Todd Maisel
Munoz and Marmoles’s deaths marks the sixth fire-related fatality in New York City since Monday, according to authorities.
Throughout all of 2019, the city saw 66 civilian fire deaths — marking a 25-percent decline since 2018, according to Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.