Wind-Driven Fire Wipes Out Corner in Ozone Park

Queens Chronicle - January 07, 2020

by Michael Shain

A devastating midday blaze destroyed or damaged six buildings — virtually the entire corner of a city block — in Ozone Park Sunday.

The wind-swept fire spread rapidly from a grocery store on 101st Avenue and 80th Street to adjacent houses on either side.

"If it hadn't been for the wind, it would have never gone farther than the store on the corner," said one man, whose mother-in-law lives a few doors down from the blaze. At the height of the fire, the wind carried burning debris to nearby roofs and started new fires, said the man, who asked not to be identified.

Within 15 minutes of arriving on the scene, fire officials transmitted four alarms — calling more than 170 firefighters for assistance.

Ten people — six firefighters and four civilians — were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, an FDNY spokesman said. A firefighter and a civilian were listed in serious but not life-threatening condition. The other injuries were classified as minor. The cause of the fire — which burned for two hours before being declared under control — is under investigation.

At least six families were displaced by the fire, residents said.

A fire truck was stationed at the scene all night in case of flare ups.

A day after the blaze, 80th Street was still shut down to traffic by police. Produce from the store, called the Ozone Park Supermarket, lay scattered on the sidewalks amid the burnt siding and shattered glass.

"Thankfully, no lives were lost in this blaze, but we do pray for the injured residents and brave firefighters who worked to get the fire under control before it could do even more damage," state Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach), said in a prepared statement. "Our Ozone Park community is strong, and I know we will come together to help those that lost everything."