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Ridgewood house fire leaves 92-year-old dead

Photo by Ellis Kaplan
By Sarina Trangle

A Ridgewood blaze left two brothers without a mother or home Monday.

Neighbors said firefighters rushed into the flames of a two-story house on Himrod Street, carried Maria Tchinkel onto the street and performed CPR on the 92-year-old.

She was rushed to Wycoff Heights Medical Center, where the Fire Department said Tchinkel was pronounced dead.

First responders also brought Tchinkel’s two sons to the hospital, one in serious condition and the other with minor injuries. The Police Department said both brothers have since been released.

But the brothers, ages 65 and 70, returned home to the wreckage. Their apartment was not inhabitable, according to the American Red Cross of Greater New York.

Michael Devulpillieres, a press representative for the Red Cross, said the organization had offered assistance to the family through the hospital.

The FDNY said it sent close to 60 firefighters to the fire on Himrod Street near Onderdonk Avenue at 10:31 a.m. The department said the flames had filled the first floor of the two-story house. The blaze was put out within half an hour, according to the FDNY.

Fire marshals have not yet determined what caused the fire.

Neighbors described Tchinkel as an amicable woman who often greeted passers-by.

St. Aloysius Parish in Ridgewood planned to celebrate mass on Ash Wednesday in honor of Tchinkel, a longtime parishioner.

“She liked to come in and talk German,” said Gisi Sterbenz, who works in the rectory. “She was friendly.”

Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at strangle@cnglocal.com.

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