Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Five Killed In Suspicious Brooklyn Fire

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Five people are dead after a fast-moving fire ripped through a Brooklyn apartment building Saturday, in what fire officials suspect was a case of arson.

The fire broke out around 2:30 a.m. in a three-story building on 86th Street and Bay 25th Street. The three-alarm fire eventually damaged the building's roof.

Four men and one woman, 34-year-old Luisa Chan, died in the fire, and by Saturday evening firefighters had not ruled out the possibility of more victims once they searched through all the rubble.

Fire officials said when they arrived on the scene, the building was filled with smoke and the first floor and stairways were aflame. Officials ruled that it was too dangerous to send firefighters inside to rescue people from the home, which is said to have housed Guatemalan immigrants.

The fire was under control by about 5:15 a.m. and firefighters rescued three people with ladders.

Officials said a two-month-old girl and two-year-old boy were tossed out the window by a woman trying to save them.

Officials and witnesses said the infant was taken to Lutheran Hospital with serious head injuries after bystanders below failed to catch the baby. The child landed on an awning.

The boy and a 38-year-old man was taken to Lutheran Hospital in stable condition and 13 firefighters suffered minor injuries.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said the blaze may have been arson.

"A very unusual place for this fire to start, it started right behind the front door to the entrance and that's not where a fire would normally start. That's why this is a fire that we are saying it is very likely to be incendiary," said Cassano.

Fire officials also said the building did not have a working fire alarm and that furniture blocked the rear fire exits.

Investigators believed that that 20 people lived in the two apartments on each floor, and they were inspect the site late Saturday for building violations and to check on the structure's stability.

Meanwhile, he Metropolitan Transportation Authority said the FDNY activity in the area may have affected nearby elevated subway tracks.

As of Saturday evening, the D train was running on the N line between 36th Street and Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue in both directions, while some Coney Island-bound D trains terminated at 62nd Street.

For alternate service to and from Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue, riders should take free shuttle buses in both directions between that station and 62nd Street.

For transit updates, visit mta.info.

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