A voodoo ceremony gone wrong caused a fire that killed one woman, injured twenty firefighters and 11 residents and left 47 families homeless.
From the New York Daily News:
A woman paid $300 to a voodoo priest on the fourth floor of the apartment building on E. 29th St. She wanted him to perform a mystical ceremony that would bring her luck, the sources said.
The voodoo priest placed candles on the floor around the bed on Saturday. He lit the candles then the couple began having sex. Candles were accidentally knocked over, igniting bed sheets and their recently discarded clothes.
A statement from the FDNY said the man conducting the ceremony tried to put out the fire using water from the bathroom sink, instead of calling 911.
Another person in the apartment opened a window and a door to the building's hallway which produced gusts of wind that "created a blowtorch effect," officials said.
Mary Feagin, a 64-year-old retired teacher who lived on the top floor, died in the blaze.
"Time and time again we respond to tragedies that could have been so easily prevented," said Fire Commission Salvatore Cassano. "This fire had so many of those elements - candles left on the floor near combustible material, one of the occupants trying to douse the flames before calling 911 and an open door, which allowed fire to spread into the hallway. Hopefully others will learn from this tragedy."
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