More than a dozen people were injured after a fast moving fire broke out Thursday morning inside a Bronx home. Jon Weinstein filed the following report.
The New York City Fire Department responded just before 9:30 a.m. to a fire at a three-story apartment building located at 1020 Dean Avenue in Country Club.
Fire investigators say it broke out on the first floor of the residential building and was fueled by heavy wind gusts.
The biggest challenge firefighters faced battling a 4-alarmer on Dean Avenue was the brutal wind. Their fight against the flames made even more difficult when the windows gave way.
“Unfortunately the weather was a big factor in this fire. It was challenging to begin with, with high winds and the snow,” said Asst. Chief John Sundik. “When you have a wind driven fire like that, and we’re only one block away from the water, you can encounter blowtorch like conditions.”
Those extremely challenging conditions didn't stop firefighters from rescuing a number of people stuck inside the burning multi-family building. Witnesses called it a dramatic scene.
“Really thick black smoke. And the fire truck’s ladder went over in between the electrical lines and the cable lines and actually dragged two children, three adults and a little dog,” said one witness.
This fire started on the first floor and reached 4 alarms with more than 150 firefighters called to the scene.
Eleven people inside the building were hurt, including three who were hospitalized in serious condition. Six firefighters were also hurt, with one suffering from burns. But the gratitude for their actions was evident.
“I mean New York's Bravest to brave out this weather is incredible, these guys are great what they did today,” said another witness.
The Red Cross is helping 4 displaced families with clothing and shelter.
Mario Piacqudio’s family lived inside the building. Though none of his relatives was seriously hurt, they're still in shock.
“The family going through a lot of things and right now seeing the house burned down it’s like being in a movie,” said Piacqudio.
Some of the displaced residents were able to turn to neighbors and friends for temporary shelter, but now they're all left wondering what’s next.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.