At least two families were left without homes Friday night when a three−alarm fire ripped through their townhouse in the Baybridge Co−ops in Bayside.
The blaze at 207−24 Jordan Drive started around 6:30 p.m. on either the second or third floor and spread to the other dwellings in the building, the FDNY said. It took 138 firefighters nearly two hours to extinguish the blaze.
Four apartments were destroyed in the fire, firefighters at the scene said. Neighbors said at least one of the dwellings was not occupied.
Six firefighters and four residents suffered minor injuries and were taken to nearby hospitals, fire officials said. The cause of the blaze was still under investigation Monday.
Kimberly Lewis, 19, said her mother was home on the first floor when the fire started.
“It came from upstairs,” she said. “My mom was eating dinner when she saw her patio cushions on fire in the backyard. She went outside and it was raining down from the balcony.”
Lewis said she raced home when her mother called her to find the duplex full of smoke. They escaped safely, but watched helplessly as firefighters smashed out windows on the second floor, part of which they occupy.
“Gusts of fire came out. I was screaming in tears,” she said, noting she and her mother have lived in the building since the development opened. “All my memories, my entire life was in there. My high school yearbook was in there.”
Rebecca Henry said she heard a neighbor running down the street screaming for help. When she looked out the window and spotted a security guard trying to open a fire extinguisher in his patrol car, she called 911.
When firefighters arrived, Henry said, they had trouble getting water from the closest fire hydrant.
“My neighbor was like, ‘Where’s the water?’ ” she said, wondering if cold water froze the pipes. “Why wasn’t this working properly?”
Fire officials had no information about the hydrants Monday.
The rear side of the building was completely gutted by 8 p.m. Firefighters manning trucks on the opposite side of the gated community complained about getting access to the site, noting the call initially dispatched them to Willets Point Boulevard, on the other side of the Clearview Expressway.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community News Group
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