FDNY: Snow Storm Made Battling Port Richmond Fire Harder

SILive - February 10, 2017

by Anna Sanders

CITY HALL -- The snowstorm made battling Thursday's fatal fire in Port Richmond more difficult, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro.

Officials said a man was killed and his brother was in critical condition after a fire at 1028 Post Ave. left 14 others injured, including two firefighters.

"It can take a little longer to stretch hose lines in the snow and get ladders in position, so we did put extra firefighters on duty to cover for that," Nigro said at a storm briefing.

But the commissioner said that the storm didn't affect the response to the fire.

"Absolutely not. Unfortunately, we did lose a gentleman and that gentleman's brother is in critical condition," Nigro told the Advance. "The response time to that fire was less than three minutes. The firehouse is quite close to the location, and it was a second-alarm on arrival. There was a great deal of fire that met the firefighters when they got there."

The fire started around 7 a.m. and reached a third alarm before being brought under control after about two hours, officials said. About 33 units and 138 firefighters responded.

"They made a very brave interior attack in the fire, a number of firefighters were injured, none seriously," Nigro said. "But it did result in the death of one person and a critical injury to another."

The FDNY said 14 people were injured in the fire, including one person who refused to be brought to a hospital. The two firefighters have injuries that are not life threatening.

The fire produced copious amounts of smoke that seemed to be fanned by the snow storm's high winds. Flames shot through the roof of the attic atop the two-story frame house, according to witnesses.

At least a dozen local residents stood outside watching the emergency response in the swirling snow.

White powder was piling up on firefighters's helmets and equipment due to the near-blizzard conditions. Witnesses said it was difficult to see between the smoke and the high winds blowing snow all around the emergency responders.

Authorities set up a tented command center at the fire.