Two Injured In Brownsville Apartment Fire

NY 1 - December 25, 2008

Two people were hospitalized and dozens more sent away from their homes Wednesday morning after a fire broke out inside a Brooklyn apartment building.

Fire officials said the flames broke out just before 11 a.m. at 393 Dumont Avenue in Brownsville.

According to the FDNY, it started as a fire and turned into an explosion that blasted window panes from the 14th floor onto the street below.

Officials said most of the damage is to apartment 14G.

"I was sitting on the chair there and watching the TV and all of the sudden I heard an explosion," said resident Betty Lee. "It sounded like a bomb. I looked out the window and saw all this paper flying around. People were hollering and screaming. There was all this smoke."

"The fire victim was just standing there saying, 'whoa, whoa,'" said witness Vincent Machado. "Then they took him away in the ambulance."

Some residents said they had felt unsafe by that construction.

"We didn't want to stay in the building," said resident Belinda Arcelay. "We felt unsafe because they were fixing along the gas line alongside our building, and all I know is I don't know if that's the cause. I'm assuming so."

Five people were injured; two were taken to Staten Island Hospital with severe burns and two were treated on scene for smoke inhalation. One refused medical attention.

Fire officials said construction next to the building's gas line is being investigated as a possible cause of the fire.