Staten Island Firefighters Plunge Through Floor in Two-Alarm Blaze

NY Daily News - December 16, 2010

by Jonathan Lemire

Two firefighters battling a fierce two-alarm blaze above a Staten Island hardware store plunged through a wooden floor Wednesday and narrowly missed several of their fellow Bravest below.

Pieces of flaming wood landed on the firefighters, trapping them under piles of debris for several minutes. Firefighters on the first floor frantically began to dig them out. Remarkably, the men suffered only bumps and bruises during the 12:45 a.m. fire on Hylan Blvd.

"They were very lucky that there was nobody that sustained serious injuries," Assistant Chief James Esposito said.

Two people who live in the second-floor apartment ran to safety. No one was inside the Bella Home Improvements store.

"It was a difficult situation for a few minutes, but we were quickly able to identify, conduct a roll call and establish the fact that everyone was accounted for," Esposito said.

Fearful of a further collapse, firefighters battled the inferno from the street, using a tower ladder to shoot water cannons at the flames.

The cause was still under investigation late Wednesday.