The fire was witnessed by a birdwatcher, who saw kids fleeing the scene laughing before smoke and flames rose from the underbrush. Employees of the Prospect Park Alliance arrived within minutes, followed by police, who were able to control the blaze with fire extinguishers before the fire department arrived, and before it spread through surrounding woodlands. The area is a wildlife habitat for several species of bird, including the red-tail hawk. It's also where young people hold drinking parties in the summer.
Police said the hanging man, whom a park goer discovered around 7 a.m., was in his early 30s, and had apparently committed suicide. It's not unheard of for people, especially the homeless, to commit suicide within Brooklyn parks.