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Bill Anthony, Westbeth artist, 88, dies from injuries from apartment fire

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | William Anthony, who was dragged from a fire in his apartment by two heroic staff members at Westbeth Artists Housing on Dec. 17, has died from his injuries.

According to George Cominskie, a longtime Westbeth tenant leader, Anthony, 88, died on Sat., Dec. 24, at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Burn Center. He had been put on a ventilator but was only holding steady, not improving.

Anthony and his wife, Norma, had lived in the apartment for decades. Norma was uninjured in the fire.

Their home — which was full of Bill’s artwork — was totally destroyed by the blaze. Anthony reportedly ran into the smoky unit — some speculate to try to save his paintings, but no one knows for sure.

Westbeth employees LJ Reyes and Roger Phillips rescued him before firefighters arrived, pulling him out of the apartment. They were both treated for smoke inhalation.

So far no funeral or memorial arrangements have been made.


  1. Fred Dorfman Fred Dorfman February 8, 2023

    I’m terribly saddened today to learn of Bill’s passing. Fortunately, I’ve lots of crazy and wonderful memories of this very cool man.

  2. Patricia Melvin Patricia Melvin January 2, 2023

    He was indeed a lovely, adorable man who made people smile, Anne Phelan. How true! A wonderfully unique and humorous artist, I will miss him very much.

  3. Anne Phelan Anne Phelan December 27, 2022

    Bill was a lovely, adorable man with a gift for making people smile. He’ll be dearly missed.

  4. Mary Reinholz Mary Reinholz December 27, 2022

    Terrible tragedy. Hope the Fire Department releases findings soon on cause of the fire that took this artist’s life.

  5. Dal Dal December 27, 2022

    Incredibly sad. I heard about this fire and how terrifying it was.

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