Forest Park was inundated with police and firefighters last Saturday, when emergency responders discovered a body atop a burning pile of garbage, city officials said.
The NYPD and FDNY responded to reports that there was a fire at 86th Street and Park Lane South in Woodhaven at 5:55 a.m.
While firefighters were extinguishing the blaze, a “severely burned” body was discovered, the FDNY said. The individual was pronounced dead at the scene.
The city medical examiner has yet to determine the cause of death, and police said they are investigating the situation.
It remains unclear if the man was already dead when he was set on fire.
Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association President Ed Wendell said he and his wife, Josephine, were driving by the park when they noticed the swarm of emergency vehicles. Upon arriving at the park, the Wendells learned of the FDNY’s grisly discovery.
“That’s someone’s son, someone’s brother,” Wendell said. “That’s no way to die.”
While city officials have not speculated as to what they think happened to the deceased individual, Wendell said it seems plausible that the man was killed elsewhere and dumped in Forest Park.
“It didn’t seem like he was killed in the woods,” Wendell said. “You set someone on fire, and they tend to scream —no one reported anything like that.”
Wendell said the police did an excellent job monitoring the park, which is well-used by everyone from children to joggers, throughout the six hours it took to remove the body.