The fire started in an apartment on 3111 Brighton 7th Street in Brighton Beach at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Flames quickly spread through the second floor unit, and smoke filled the building.
Fire officials said 82-year-old Feyga Geyman was pronounced dead at the scene, while seven people suffered minor injuries, including Geyman's 85-year-old husband.
The fire was contained to the second floor apartment where the woman lived. Her caretaker was heard crying out for help.
A passerby tried to come to the rescue.
"She was asking me for my help, but I couldn't save her, the smoke was too deep," Oleg Dubrovsky said. "The home attendant was trying to go back inside, so I pulled her out. She burned her hair. Then I got on my knees, was trying to crawl and grab the lady, but it was too late."
Dubrovsky said part of the ceiling in the apartment had collapsed.
The fire was placed under control at 3:38 a.m.