Fatal fire called suspicious

Newsday - October 22, 2006

by ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO AND EMERSON CLARRIDGE

A fire deemed suspicious in a row house on a quiet residential street in the Cypress Hills area of Brooklyn yesterday morning apparently led to the death of a woman who lived there, officials said.

The woman was identified by family members who arrived at the scene late yesterday afternoon as Gladie Adler, who was described by friends as being in her 40s.

"I don't know what happened," said Gassan Adler, who said he was the deceased woman's husband and was at work at the time of the fire. "They said there was a fire."

Gassan Adler said that his wife worked as a nurse but didn't disclose where she worked.

Neighbors said they were startled by what sounded like an explosion around 10 a.m. but saw no signs of a fire at the row house at 169 Linwood St. They told reporters that there had been a smell of gas after the blast.

"I came out of the house and heard the 'boom,'" said one neighbor who didn't want to give her name. "It is sad that something like that happened."

Police said they responded to a call of a fire at about 10:37 a.m. Fire Department officials said that about 73 firefighters responded and had the fire under control in about 20 minutes.

The fire was deemed suspicious and as of late yesterday was under investigation by fire marshals, said a Fire Department spokesman.

Detectives and fire officials were going in and out of the two-story dwelling with equipment boxes and sometimes leaving with evidence in brown bags. Police declined to comment at the scene.

A young man who also lived in the building identified himself by the name Joseph and said he was Gassan Adler's stepson.

"It was an accident," Joseph said. "I am glad nobody else was hurt."

Property records show that the building was owned by Gladie D. Henriquez. It was not immediately clear whether this was the fire victim. The building was described as a three-family dwelling. Neighbors said the deceased woman had been advertising a basement apartment there for rent in recent weeks.