FDNY: Cooking cause of fire that killed famed designer

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com |

Photo by Robert Stridiron
Photo by Robert Stridiron

Fire officials determined that cooking was the cause of a fire that killed famed office chair designer Charles Pollock at his Jamaica residence on Tuesday, August 20.

The Jamaica blaze that took the life of a famous furniture designer was caused by cooking, according to the FDNY.

Charles Pollock, 83, who created one of the best-selling office chairs in history, the Pollock Executive Chair, died Tuesday morning when his 157th Street home caught fire.

According to the fire department, “several New York City fire-related deaths so far in August were caused by senior citizen cooking accidents.”

The FDNY offers the following tips on preventing kitchen accidents and cooking fires:

Kitchen accidents can be caused by:

  • Distracted cooks, including leaving the kitchen to answer the door, take a phone call or view something on television.
  • Wearing loose clothing that can catch fire when leaning over a stovetop.
  • Flammable items placed near the stove, such as towels, papers or pot holders.
  • Pan/pot handles turned outward, which are accidently bumped and overturn.
  • Cooking at temperatures higher than what is required.
  • Uncleaned cooking equipment that accumulates grease or food items.

How to prevent cooking fires:

  • Use a pot’s lid or baking soda to smother a pan/pot fire. (Do not attempt to pick up the pan/pot if there is fire.)
  • Do not use water to fight a kitchen fire, as it can splash and spread the flames.
  • Make sure your home has working smoke alarms.