Officials say the fire broke out around 10:10 p.m. Thursday in a six-story building at 451 Kingston Avenue in Crown Heights. The blaze spread to the third floor, and firefighters brought it under control just over 40 minutes later.
One person was declared dead at the scene and four others suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Authorities said firefighters later found 56-year-old Rupert Smith unconscious and unresponsive with burns on his body inside an apartment.
"I was in the apartment and it got smoky", Gary Lawson, 73, who lived in the apartment with his roommate Smith, said.
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Elliott has also been accused of pushing Thompson up against a wall and injuring her shoulder five months earlier in Florida. And in July, he was involved in an altercation at a Dallas nightclub during which a DJ's nose was broken.
By the time he escaped and called 911, the apartment was filled with smoke.
Another resident in the building escaped to safety by climbing down a wire hanging outside his fourth-floor window, CBS New York says.
"The kids were coming back up because they were overtaken by the smoke", she said.
The fire marshal is investigating.