BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn (WABC) --A man in Brooklyn frantically tried to run into a burning building to save his brother, but the smoke and flames were just too much to handle. Firefighters believe the fire was intentionally set.
Residents were trapped on the upper floors of the four story Brownstone on Jefferson Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant with nowhere to go.
"All I could see was smoke - smoke coming out," says Marlene Taylor-Hardy.
"I seen (sic) a guy on the ledge on the top floor telling everybody 'get out the house, get out the house', and as soon as he said that, black smoke just came out the window, and covered up the whole block," adds neighbor Jason Roberts.
The fast-moving fire killed one resident.
Police say the body of 56-year-old Michael Floyd was found in a third floor apartment. Michele Houston says Floyd's brother, Robert, frantically tried to get inside to save his brother, but the smoke was just too thick.
"His brother didn't make it, there's nothing there. His brother is just in shock when they told him, the fire department told him 'your brother burnt to a crisp'," Houston says.
Investigators determined the fire is suspicious. Police say flames broke out around 2:30 p.m. in the stairwell between the second and third floors. The stairs are now covered in a thick layer of ashes as fire marshals search for clues.
"It's unusual a fire would start in the staircase, so that's why we deemed it suspicious, and fire marshals are doing an investigation," says FDNY Chief Edwin Travers.
Residents of the building are now left homeless on New Year's Day, and one man lost something he cannot replace - his friend and brother.