CHARLESTON, Staten Island (WABC) -- A birthday celebration turned tragic after candles ignited a fire that ripped through a townhouse on Staten Island. A 62-year-old man was killed.
The man's son tried to save his father by calling out to neighbors for help.
The fire tore through the condo on Pembrook Loop in the Charleston section just before 11 p.m. Saturday.
Officials say the blaze was sparked by candles. 62-year-old Tony Carter was killed - it was his birthday. The University of New Haven professor was beloved in the community.
"He was like a father figure to us, honestly. He was a college professor, and he used to tell us 'if you need a recommendation to college' - he always used to help us," said Eli Herrera.
"He was a great person. He never had anything bad to say - he always complimented you," adds Kevin Berger.
Carter's son is recovering at the hospital, according to his second cousin. His hands are burned, but he will be okay. His family is trying to figure out who will take care of him - his father has sole custody.
His two adult brothers are flying in from Iowa to break the news to him that his father has passed.