Robert Haggerty was taking an afternoon nap when a neighbor woke him with shouts that his Lake Avenue home was on fire yesterday. The legally blind longtime Sheepshead Bay resident bolted out of bed and out the door, in time to find the home next door ablaze, and flames licking the side of his house.

“I’m just glad somebody woke him up, otherwise he’d be dead,” said a close relative who lives up the block.

In the bungalow colonies, wooden homes nearly 100 years old line the alleyway with little room in between. Only about three feet wide, the “avenue” in front of their home is nothing more than a walking path, and fire trucks are denied access. A small fire can quickly wipe out a community.

Luckily for Lake Avenue residents, scores of firefighters made it to the scene, linking hoses together and containing the blaze that started at 8 Lake Avenue in about 20 minutes. While Haggerty’s home next door had severe damage, and many of his belongings are headed for the trash, he did manage to save a prized possession: an urn with his deceased wife’s remains.

But, to Haggerty and other neighbors, the fire itself wasn’t much of a surprise. They say the property owner is a slumlord with a record of abuse.

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Okay, it’s not our usual beautiful Morning Mug photo, but I thought I’d slip it in and give you a jarring wake up this wonderful Friday morning. The above is… well… it’s a dead freakin’ pigeon. Erica, who shot it (the photo, not the bird), wrote:

It seemed to be laying there in a somewhat awkward, not-alive-looking position.

It really stinks over there, waiting for the B36 beneath a veritable pigeon latrine.

I actually almost barfed once.

Ah, poetry. Anyway, this all sounds so very familiar.

Photo by Mike N.

A 54-year-old man is dead after being stabbed several times this morning in a condo on East 27th Street off Emmons Avenue.

(UPDATE: Photo: Maksim Gelman, Suspect In Stabbing Aleksandr Kuznetsov)

The incident appears to be the result of an early morning family dispute at around 5:00 a.m. The victim was dead when police arrived, and witnesses told police they saw a younger man flee the apartment in his car.

Police are looking for the suspect, described as a 20-year-old, six-foot-tall white male. He was seen driving a grey Lexus, license plate number DHE8322. If you have any information, you can call (800) 577-TIPS (8477), text “TIP577″ (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637), or submit tips online.

We’ll provide more information as it becomes available.

This is a breaking news story and may have inaccuracies. It is subject to change. If you have information, photos or video, please e-mail us at nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Thanks to Mike N. and Nicole G. for the tip.

UPDATE (7:15 p.m.): This one’s a doozie. The important details: two homes were involved – 8 and 9 Lake Avenue. The fire originated in 8 Lake Avenue, destroying the house, and doing massive damage to the home next door. Firefighters were able to extinguish the majority of the flames in about 20 minutes, but spent the next two hours eliminating any other potential risks.

No one was hurt, though there did appear to be a tremendous amount of property damage.

There’s a lot more to this story that Sheepshead Bites will bring you tomorrow morning, including photos, video and neighborly feuding. But, for now, I’ve stood out in the cold, destroyed my sneakers, and most of my clothes smell of the fire. I’ve earned a break.

Original post (5:23 p.m.):

We’ve just received word of a fire at Emmons Avenue and Lake Avenue. We’re told it’s a two alarm fire, and is affecting two buildings.

This location is the site of tightly-packed bungalows, and if it is deep in the “colony” it may be difficult for firefighters to tackle the blaze. We’ll update with more information as it becomes available.

This is a breaking news story and may have inaccuracies. It is subject to change. If you have information, photos or video, please e-mail us at nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Thanks to Dan Cavanagh of for tipping me off to the fire, and then persistently annoying me to credit for said tip.

United Methodist Church Sheepshead Bay

After hearing the news that the Korean United Methodist Church of Sheepshead Bay would be tearing down its iconic steeples, Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison was dismayed. The 142-year-old church, at 3087 Ocean Avenue came, on the group’s radar once before, back when BIG’s membership numbers were strong and the group was attempting to preserve fixtures of neighborhood character before they got swept up in development and cultural shifts. Unfortunately, that tide of change came, and the group did not succeed in all of its efforts.

Now, he and his group are once again pleading for a local leader or benevolent patron to come forward and help preserve the building’s steeples. Barrison wrote the following statement after reading about the church’s plans on Sheepshead Bites:

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In what may very well be the first business from our area to make an offer on Groupon, Têtê-à-Têtê Café (2601 East 14th Street) is selling $15 gift cards for $7 for today only.

For those who don’t know what Groupon is, the service e-mails daily deals to restaurants, cafes, retail shops and services in the New York City area. You pay a discounted price – usually about half – for a gift certificate to the establishment.

But this isn’t an ad for Groupon. Or Têtê-à-Têtê Café. I’m just letting you know about a good deal to save some money and support a local business. Check it out!

Photo by Puzzler4879 via Flickr.

Accidents in Brooklyn. Click to see the interactive map.

Three local roadways rank among the city’s most dangerous places for walking in a report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, nabbing some of the top spots in Brooklyn. And, depending on how you read the data, the city’s most dangerous strip of asphalt is right in our community.

The group compiled federal data of pedestrian deaths spanning three years, 2007 to 2009. They found that, in Brooklyn, Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway and Neptune Avenue rank in the top five. The worst avenue in Brooklyn based on number of deaths alone is Atlantic Avenue, which had eight deaths over the three years; both Ocean Parkway and Kings Highway tie for second with seven deaths.

Most shocking, though, is Neptune Avenue – a road much shorter in length than any of the others on the Brooklyn list, meaning it’s got the most deaths per mile of roadway. Neptune Avenue may actually be the most dangerous place to walk in the borough.

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Countdown to June begins now. Photo by Stan Kaplan.

This just in from Allan Rosen:

This street, Ocean Avenue in Manhattan Beach, was perfectly clear of snow and ice until three days ago when the Department of Sanitation decided to move the mounds of snow along the curbs into the center of the street for it to melt.  However, the temperature only remained above freezing for one day, and due to the light traffic, not enough cars ran over the mush to melt it. So now we are left with this icy hazzard which we didn’t have before.  Why is it alright for Sanitation to move the snow into the center of the street when residents are told that they are not allowed to do that when clearing their driveways?

I guess a bigger question is, how come city workers constantly do things that we’re always told not to do? Hardly news, sure, but a gripe I think all of us peasants share.