Three die in separate Bronx housing fires: FDNY

The final days of 2023 saw three apartment fire fatalities in the Bronx.
The final days of 2023 saw three apartment fire fatalities in the Bronx.
Photo Lloyd Mitchell

In the last days of December, three died in three different housing fires in the Soundview and Bedford Park neighborhoods.

These latest incidents hit especially hard as next week marks the second anniversary of the Twin Parks fire that killed 17 people on January 9, 2022.

One of the victims was 56-year-old Brett Teply, who died on Dec. 29 at 319 East 197th St., located in Bedford Park.

A close friend of the family told the Bronx Times that Teply “was a very, very fine guy” who celebrated his birthday less than two weeks before the fire.

According to the friend, who wanted not to be named, Teply was a native Bronxite who attended the high school commonly known as Bronx Science. He described him as a “multitalented” person who “loved life.”

While the exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, the Teply family said they were told by fire officials that the kitchen was under renovation at the time of the fire and that it was likely caused by a gas leak. They were also told that autopsy results showed the cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning. FDNY did not respond to the Bronx Times’ request to verify this information. 

Additionally, the building landlord could not be reached, and a spokesperson for the Housing Preservation and Development department, which handles enforcement of carbon monoxide detectors and maintains a lookup of building ownership and complaints, said it did not have information for the landlord. 

Two other fatal apartment fires occurred over the last two days of December, less than half a mile apart. 

In the Soundview neighborhood, fires at 1210 Elder Avenue on Dec. 30 and 1226 Colgate Avenue on Dec. 31 claimed the lives of two people not yet publicly named, according to the FDNY.

In the first incident, FDNY reported that one woman died and five people were hospitalized with minor injuries when a fire broke out on the second floor of a five-story building. According to a post on X late Tuesday afternoon, FDNY determined the cause of the fire was “accidental, electrical.” 

The Colgate Avenue fire on New Year’s Eve started in the rear of a two-story building and escalated to three-alarm, according to FDNY. A 50-year-old man died, and two officers were treated for smoke inhalation. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

The NYPD told the Bronx Times that there was no update on both victims’ identities as of Tuesday afternoon.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson said in a statement, “We are sending prayers of comfort and healing to the families who lost loved ones” in the three fires.
Gibson said her office will soon announce a “series of fire safety and education workshops in partnership with FDNY to equip our residents with the resources to be safe in their homes.”

In response to these incidents, the FDNY Fire Safety Education unit set up an outdoor table on Tuesday at 1478 Westchester Ave., and more information can be found here.

This story was updated at 10:40 a.m. on Jan. 3 with comment from the Borough President. 

Reach Emily Swanson at or (646) 717-0015. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes