A two-alarm fire raced through the home and museum of a College Point artist Tuesday night, probably destroying a collection of his life’s work.
The blaze started in the home around 5:38 p.m. at 22-12 119th St., fire officials said. It completely gutted the two-story structure and continued to burn into an extension of the building after 7:50 p.m., bringing out dozens of curious neighbors who watched it burn.
“I just came home from work and it was mayhem,” said neighbor Carla Fusconi. “It just kept burning. I feel so bad for whoever owns that place because it’s gone.”
No one was injured in the blaze, which required 106 firefighters and 25 vehicles to combat, the FDNY said.
There was no indication how the fire started.
The home, regarded by the Fire Department as a commercial structure, was dedicated to the work of College Point artist John Norwood, who attended the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1950s and had his first exhibition in 1959, according to his Web site. His most recent exhibition was at the Queens Museum of Art in 2001.
Norwood’s favored materials are cigarette butts, coffee cups, wood scraps, Styrofoam packing materials and remnants of models, according to his Web site. “He throws nothing away and eventually everything makes it into his art,” the site says.
“I used to see the people that ran the place every so often,” said Norman Segler, who lives about a block away. “I’d say hi to them in passing but not much else. I know it was used for art. It all must have been lost. It’s sad.”
The museum, which featured a collection of Norwood’s pieces from throughout his career, offered free admission and was open by appointment only.
Jeremy Walsh contributed to this article.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.