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Dozens of candles ogled in Far Rockaway fire that killed 9-year-old boy


FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens (WABC) – Investigators now believe dozens of candles lit in a religious ceremony have sparked a fire in Queens that killed a 9-year-old boy.

Flames erupted on Hillmeyer Avenue in Far Rockaway just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday, and authorities initially called the blaze suspicious.

The boy’s body was found after firefighters put out the blaze, and investigators previously said there was trauma to his body.

Further investigation, however, brought to light the candles, which neighbors said were lit continuously as part of religious ceremonies.

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Sources identified the boy as Matthew Pichardo, and a family member also confirmed the information.

Residents who came to the house on Monday to retrieve the surviving items of the fire did not want to speak to Eyewitness News.

Three other people were slightly injured in the fire.

“He’s a tragic man, a little boy is not supposed to die like this,” neighbor Dennis Martinez said. “Everyone got out of the house and just left it in there. Something’s wrong with the photo for me.”

The four apartments consisted of two family houses attached to each other, and the four families were moved.

The owner of two of the apartments said he was very upset when he learned of the child’s death.

“He’s a very nice boy, all the time, you know, who works,” said Yehezkel Fishbach. “I saw it if a tenant had a problem or something, I walked in, he was a really nice kid, I mean, it’s really sad.”

The investigation is ongoing.

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