Security Guard Burns To Death In Ocean Village Elevator
A security guard was killed inside an elevator at Ocean Village on Christmas night after two reckless 13-year-old boys set a fifth-floor trash bin on fire, authorities said. The guard, a married father of four, took the smoldering bin into the elevator and burned to death as it slowly lowered to the first floor.
Witnesses said Raymond James, 32, was heard screaming and begging for rescue at about 9 p.m., according to published reports. He was trying to get the metal-framed canvas bin out of the building at 146 Beach 59 Street – in an attempt to protect residents and prevent the fire from spreading.
The boys, who are cousins, have been charged with murder and held at a juvenile detention center; one is a resident of the complex but not the building where James died. They were allegedly setting fire to holiday decorations that adorned the hallways and reportedly have a history of setting small fires and committing other dangerous acts in the notoriously dangerous housing complex. Family members, meanwhile, say the boys are innocent pranksters.
The teens were led out of the 101 Precinct stationhouse on the day after Christmas with black hoods drawn over their faces to hide their identities. Their names are being withheld due to their juvenile status.
James came to the United States from St. Vincent in the Caribbean less than two years ago with his wife, Laverne James, and their two young children ages 6 and 9. They settled in Richmond Hill.
James also had two children with another woman in St. Vincent.
A New York Times investigation into the condition of the elevators at the apartment complex revealed seven unresolved safety citations for the two elevators in the building where James died. The elevators were last inspected on November 15 when it was determined there was “no violation,” according to Department of Buildings records.
Funeral services for James were held at the Elock Funeral Home in Richmond Hill. His body will be buried in St. Vincent. Contributions can be sent to North Fork Bank, c/o North Fork Bank, Raymond James Memorial Fund, 115-20 Jamaica Avenue, Richmond Hill, New York, 11418.