Two People Killed in Brooklyn Fire

The Wall Street Journal - December 29, 2015

by Mark Morales

A man and a woman were killed as a five-alarm fire tore through a Brooklyn apartment building early Monday, authorities said.

The fire started just after 1:30 a.m. on the second floor of a three-story building on Richardson Street, near McCarren Park in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, officials said.

Firefighters entered the building to battle the blaze, officials said, but after about 20 minutes were forced outside as the fire grew in intensity.

Such fast-moving fires aren’t unusual in wood-framed buildings like the one that burned Monday, said a Fire Department of New York spokesman.

About 200 firefighters responded to the scene and the fire was put out just after 4:30 a.m., officials said. Most residents got out of the building, officials said.

During a search of the charred building, firefighters discovered the two people who died. They weren’t identified.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries from the blaze, officials said. Fire department officials are now trying to determine the cause of the fire, authorities said.

City Councilman Stephen Levin, whose district includes the location of the fire, expressed his condolences in a statement. “At a time when most families are gathered together to celebrate the holidays, these families must endure the unspeakable hardship of losing a loved one,” he said.

Officials for the city Department of Buildings executed a full vacate order for the building, which had six units, officials said. A partial vacate order was issued for a neighboring structure on Richardson Street, officials said.

Other fires with multiple fatalities have hit Brooklyn this year. In October a 48-year-old Borough Park woman and her neighbor died. The fire department said this month that the woman set that fire; gasoline was found in her apartment as well as in the building’s stairwell and hallway.

In March, a fire inside a Midwood home that was sparked by a hot plate killed seven children ranging in age 5 years old to 16 from one family, officials said. It was the deadliest fire in New York City in nearly a decade.