Five Injured When Raging Fire Rips Through Three Bronx Buildings

NY Daily News - November 22, 2018

by GRAHAM RAYMAN, KERRY BURKE and THOMAS TRACY

A massive fire ripped through three Bronx homes Tuesday — injuring five people and leaving up to a dozen families homeless ahead of Thanksgiving.

At least one resident had to be rescued by firefighters as he straddled the windowsill of the burning building.

The fire erupted inside 3210 Hull Ave. near E. 207th St. in the Norwood section at about 2:10 p.m.

The fire in the wood-frame home quickly spread to buildings on each side, even though the structures are separated by small three-foot alleyways.

More than three hours later, the fire continued to smolder, with displaced families watching their belongings go up in smoke.

“I lost everything...everything!” resident Michael Cook said. Shivering in a sweatshirt and jeans, Cook didn’t have time to grab anything as the fire ate through his home.

“I was in my bedroom and smoke was coming up through my floor,” Cook, 41, said. “I went downstairs and opened my landlord’s door and all the black smoke poured out.”

He and his neighbors ran outside. When they turned back to look at their home “the building was cooking,” he said.

“The side of the house...there were flames everywhere,” he said. “It was spreading.”

Angel Mendez, 28, was in his apartment next door when he heard a window explode.

“People were screaming outside yelling, ‘Get out! Get out!’” Mendez said. “Suddenly, there were flames everywhere.”

Mendez scooped up his Chihuahua, Benji, and ran out of the building, but not before alerting his neighbors.

“I was running around the building, telling people to get out,” he said. “I was scared.”

One civilian and four firefighters sustained serious injuries, FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief John Hodgens said.

The civilian, who was pulled from a windowsill to safety, suffered from smoke inhalation, he said.

Medics took them to area hospitals for treatment.

“It was a heavy fire condition that quickly extended to the adjoining buildings,” Hodgens said. “We did an aggressive attack on the building, knocking out most of the fire.”

“We were lucky at the time of the fire,” he said. “There were very few people home.”

The top floor of 3210 Hull Ave. collapsed in on itself as the fire raged, Hodgens said. Firefighters were still combing through the wreckage.

FDNY fire marshals will be tasked with determine what started the fire, the spokesman said.