By Karen Zautyk
A man who was severely burned in a Feb. 12 house fire at 131 Schuyler Ave. succumbed to his injuries last week at St. Barnabas Medical Center, authorities reported.
The victim, Manuel Lampon, 66, died the evening of Feb. 25 in the Burn Unit of the Livingston hospital, where he had been in critical condition after being admitted with third-degree burns.
Other than his name and age, no details about Lampon were available at press time. “It is our understanding that the family had to travel from Spain,” Kearny Fire Chief Steve Dyl said.
Lampon had been trapped in the bedroom of his basement apartment after the fire broke out about 3:30 p.m. on the 12th. Kearny firefighters had been told by another tenant of the building that someone was in the basement unit, but the victim’s exact location was not known, and they had to search the premises, authorities said.
Heavy smoke and narrow quarters, including low ceilings, reportedly hampered the efforts to remove Lampon from the cellar. He was found unconscious in the bedroom, and as the rescuers worked to get him out of the burning structure, they began to run out of oxygen, authorities said.
According to Kearny Police Chief John Dowie, KPD Officer Chris Levchak, arriving first at the scene, had made it to the top of the basement stairs but “was beaten back by the flames and the smoke.”
Lampon was initially taken by Kearny EMS to University Hospital in Newark and was then transferred to St. Barnabas, which has a specialized burn center.
The blaze is believed to have begun in the basement, but the exact cause is under investigation.
No other injuries were reported.