44 displaced in Queens fire, body found investigated as suicide

ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- The death of a 26-year-old Queens man in a fire that displaced dozens of people is now being investigated as a possible suicide.

Anesti Bulgaretsi was discovered dead following an explosion and fire at a six-story building on 41st Avenue and 74th Street in Elmhurst Tuesday.

The blast was so forceful some residents thought a plane had crashed into the building, and flames and heavy smoke could be seen coming from the roof.


Bulgaretsi was found stabbed in his bathtub after firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Detectives found a knife near the bathtub and were told his wounds could have been self inflected.

ALSO READ | Street racing hit-and run crash leaves woman dead, man hurt in Brooklyn, police say
EMBED More News Videos

Police say three cars were racing on Utica Avenue when a Dodge Charger one jumped the curb, striking the two pedestrians, just after 3 a.m. Monday.


They are now interviewing other residents and are investigating the death as a possible suicide.

The Medical Examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 741-741 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Officials say a total of 44 people from 23 families were left homeless by the blaze.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries in the three alarm fire, with 140 firefighters responding.

Knocking down the fire cracked wall on the roof, leading to the evacuation of adjacent buildings, and the Department of Buildings has since ordered Full Vacate Orders for four properties.

Forensic engineers found extensive fire damage and a collapse of the roof at the penthouse level, and a section of parapet wall at the penthouse level is leaning to the side and is not structurally stable.

The gas and electricity have been turned off until repair work is complete.

RELATED | Earth warming likely to pass limit set by international leaders
EMBED More News Videos

Earth's climate is getting so hot that temperatures in about a decade will probably blow past a dangerous level of warming.


The American Red Cross is providing temporary lodging, financial assistance, emotional support and other services to all impacted by this incident.

Several agencies are involved in the process of securing the wall and determining a cause of the fire.

----------
* More Queens news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.