Nearly 2 dozen firefighters injured battling New York house fire
At least 22 New York City firefighters were injured, three critically, while battling a large blaze at a duplex on Staten Island Friday afternoon.
The fire was reported in both sides of the duplex at about 1:30 p.m. EST, and crews arrived on scene within four minutes to find “heavy smoke and fire,” FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said in a Friday evening news conference.
Three firefighters were rushed to a Staten Island hospital with critical injuries, but are “going to be okay,” Kavanaugh said, adding that they were “awake, alert and talking.”
FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said there were “heavy winds” at the scene, and while crews were inside searching for occupants, the “windows failed, and the wind blew the fire intensely into the building,” trapping two of the critically-injured firefighters.
One firefighter jumped off a second-floor balcony into the driveway, while the second sent out a distress call for help, and was eventually rescued by a responding squadron.
A third firefighter “became disoriented” while battling the flames after he got struck in the head by what appeared to be “falling plaster,” Hodgens said.
“The amount of fire on arrival was something we don’t see every day,” Hodgens said.
The other 19 firefighters suffered minor injuries, officials said. No civilians were hurt. It’s unclear how many residents were in the duplex at the time of the blaze.
The cause is under investigation. The fire is believed to have started in a space in the rear of the duplex, Hodgens disclosed.