250 Firefighters Battle Fire in Queens; 5 Injured, 13 Buildings Damaged: Authorities

WNBC 4 - March 06, 2017

by Rana Novini

Five people were injured and several buildings were damaged in a seven-alarm fire in Queens, authorities said.

The fire started late Saturday at an Ace Caribbean Market on Liberty Street in Richmond Hill and quickly ravaged 13 buildings, the FDNY said. Eight of the buildings were severely burned, fire officials said.

The cold, windy weather caused the fire to spread, said FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard. The fire isn't believed to be suspicious.

Five people — two firefighters and three civilians — were injured, fire officials said. One was taken to an area hospital, and two others refused medical attention. A 60-year-old woman was taken to Jamaica Hospital with minor smoke inhalation, police said.

Displaced residents crowded into a nearby Kennedy Fried Chicken, watching in awe as smoke wafted out of charred windows.

Authorities say 40 residents have been displaced and are all being taken care of by the Red Cross. The organization provided financial assistance to eight families, including 23 adults and eight children, as well as food, clothing and blankets for all.

About 250 firefighters and emergency medical service employees were at the scene, fire officials said.

Shattered glass and ice covered the streets along Liberty Avenue. Light peeked through the window openings onto caved-in roofs, mangled awnings, and charred debris piled at least six feet high.

Traffic was shut down along Liberty Avenue in both directions, and A train service was halted between Rockaway Boulevard and Lefferts Avenue early Sunday morning. Service resumed with delays just before 7 a.m., with southbound trains skipping 111 Street. FDNY officials say the cause of the fire is still under investigation.