By Sadef Kully and Tom Momberg
An elderly woman and her husband narrowly escaped a fire Monday as she turned to look back at the blaze that had destroyed her Queens Village home.
Mario and Rosa Gonzales said it was a very close call as they were being assisted by emergency personnel at the scene of the fire on 207th Street near Hillside Avenue.
Eight emergency vehicles responded to the blaze, which inflicted severe damage to the house
Mario Gonzales, 85, said he had no idea what started the fire, which was brought under control soon after 2 p.m.
“I don’t know what happened — I was in the living room watching TV and my wife smelled smoke. She came in and told me and we got out as soon as we could,” he said in Spanish, which was translated by a family friend and church parishioner David Feliciano .
Feliciano translated for Rosa Gonzalez, the wife, who said, “As I was getting out – I could see the house was already gone.”
The Gonzales’ home is just across the street from PS 135, the Bellaire School, but students were home for the religious holiday Rosh Hashanah.
The shocked couple waited for their son to pick them up across the street on a bench with Father Chris Bethge from their church, Incarnation Church Roman Catholic, on Francis Lewis Boulevard. After the fire was extinguished, firefighters ripped down the back wall to the backyard and the walls of the first floor were also torn down as they looked for any sparks left over the fire.
Fire crews and police were still investigating the source of the fire.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb