Girl, 11, Who Died in Brooklyn Fire, Was Joyful and Sweet, Neighbors Say

NEW YORK — Shirr Teved, like many 11-year-old girls, was a joyful child who loved animals, her neighbors said. Teachers thought she was happy and sweet. Others who knew her described her as a “beautiful girl.”

Girl, 11, Who Died in Brooklyn Fire, Was Joyful and Sweet, Neighbors Say

But on Monday night, after a fire broke out in her Brooklyn home, Shirr was found unconscious inside the apartment and rushed to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the police said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, fire marshals were still investigating the cause of the fire in the Midwood area of Brooklyn, officials said. It was not clear who else, if anyone, was in the home, but officials said there were no other victims.

The child’s death came toward the end of a frigid day on which at least three other people died in connection with separate fires across New York City, according to officials. One of the fires, in a rowhouse in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, was being investigated as a homicide, the police said.

In Midwood on Monday, firefighters received a call at around 10:20 p.m. about a blaze in a three-story building at 761 Ocean Parkway, the Fire Department said.

The fire was on the first floor of the building, officials said, and 25 units and 106 firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians responded to the scene. A department spokesman, Jim Long, said the home’s smoke detectors had gone off as the fire began.

As the firefighters brought the fire under control, Shirr was pulled from the building and taken to Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.

One firefighter, who suffered smoke inhalation, was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan. He arrived with “serious, life-threatening injuries” but was later upgraded to stable condition, according to Brian Fitzgerald, another Fire Department spokesman.

On Tuesday morning, the smell of smoke hung in the air outside the split-residence building. Ash and fire debris coated cars still parked in the driveway, and bicycles, luggage, shelving and a small pink scooter sat in a heap behind police tape.

Firefighters and fire marshals were still at the site Tuesday.

Madelyn Novitsky, a substitute teacher at Yeshiva Ohel Moshe in Bensonhurst, where Shirr attended school, described her as an energetic child.

Novitsky said she served as an after-school tutor and had mentored the 11-year-old, who often walked Novitsky’s dog. Novitsky also took Shirr to Sabbath dinners and to temple.

They were supposed to meet again for tutoring Tuesday, Novitsky said — “to watch ‘Madeline’ cartoons and to do homework.”

She also said that Shirr, a fourth-grader, loved field trips to the beach at Coney Island and that her strongest memory of the child was her “doing somersaults all in a row from the boardwalk to the beach shore.”

“I told her not to do it but she did it anyway, with sheer delight,” Novitsky said, as she looked at the wreckage of Shirr’s home.

On Monday night, she said, she ran outside in pajamas when she learned that Shirr’s house was burning.

At around 11 p.m., she spoke by phone with Shirr’s mother, who was not at home when the fire broke out, she said.

Novitsky said she believed the family used space heaters in the home. Officials would not comment as to whether those appliances were involved in the fire, citing the ongoing investigation.

Shirr’s parents could not be reached for comment.

Suleyman Erkan, 62, a superintendent at the apartment building next door, said the couple “were always arguing, shouting, screaming at each other.”

He said that when he took the job, the outgoing superintendent told him: “Be careful with these guys. They are not safe people.”

Ruben Mendez, 56, a superintendent at another nearby building, said that he had never seen the couple’s public displays of anger directed at the child.

“The parents would always yell at each other,” he said.

Neighbors said the couple often sat smoking on the steps of their home or drank in the cars parked in their driveway, which they rented out as a parking space to make extra money.

Mendez said the girl used to feed stray cats by putting food out in a bowl.

“She looked fragile,” he said. “She looked like she was undernourished. She was a little skinny thing.”

Mendez also described her as solitary.

“She was always by herself. She would never play with anyone,” he said. “She got on her little bike, from there to the corner and back.”

The Midwood fire was one of at least four deadly fires in the city Monday.

For the past 14 years, fewer than 100 people have died every year in fires in New York City, according to Fire Department data. Last year, 66 people died in fires.

One of Monday’s fires was being investigated as a homicide. At around 3:20 a.m., a fire tore through a rowhouse in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood.

After that fire was brought under control, firefighters found a man, L. Antonio Litman, unconscious with puncture wounds in his head and back, officials said.

The authorities were also investigating a fire in Queens, where a man who has not been identified was found dead in a building under construction, and a blaze in the Bronx, in which an 85-year-old man was found inside his apartment in the Co-op City neighborhood at around 2:45 a.m.

Separately, hundreds of firefighters spent hours working to control a five-alarm fire in Staten Island on Monday, which eventually spread through six buildings, according to the Fire Department. Ten firefighters and one other person were injured in that fire, officials said. The injuries were not life-threatening.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times .

Our newsletter gives you access to a curated selection of the most important stories daily.

Welcome to the Pulse Community! We will now be sending you a daily newsletter on news, entertainment and more. Also join us across all of our other channels - we love to be connected!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: news@pulselive.co.ke

Recommended articles

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote poised to overtake another Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin on Bloomberg billionaires list

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote poised to overtake another Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin on Bloomberg billionaires list

Mzee Kibor's will made public, revealing how vast wealth and millions will be distributed

Mzee Kibor's will made public, revealing how vast wealth and millions will be distributed

Ini Edo posts new photos amid reports of welcoming a baby through surrogacy

Ini Edo posts new photos amid reports of welcoming a baby through surrogacy

Mathias Pogba brands Paul Pogba 'a so-called Muslim steeped in witchcraft' amid fetish claims about Kylian Mbappe

Mathias Pogba brands Paul Pogba 'a so-called Muslim steeped in witchcraft' amid fetish claims about Kylian Mbappe

Referee behind chaos at AFCON was rushed to hospital after match

Referee behind chaos at AFCON was rushed to hospital after match

Ne-Yo speaks out after wife Crystal announced end of their 8-year marriage

Ne-Yo speaks out after wife Crystal announced end of their 8-year marriage

Eddie Butita speaks on his fallout with Miss Mandi, offers her a job

Eddie Butita speaks on his fallout with Miss Mandi, offers her a job

Sadio Mane the odd one out as Bayern Munich stars take team photo with glasses of beer

Sadio Mane the odd one out as Bayern Munich stars take team photo with glasses of beer

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, adds extra $915 million to his vast wealth in Q1 2022

Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote, adds extra $915 million to his vast wealth in Q1 2022