Updated 04/13/2009 11:03 AM
Massive Brush Fire Contained On Staten Island
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Fire crews on Staten Island have contained a six-alarm brush fire that leveled one home and damaged two others Sunday afternoon in the Oakwood Beach area.
Fire officials say flames broke out around 1 p.m. near Mill Road and Aviston Street.
Smoke from the brush fire could be seen for miles.
"We had numerous houses in danger, over 30 houses on Kissam and we had another 30 on Fox Beach Avenue and we probably had another 30 to 50 homes in the New Dorp Beach section," said FDNY Chief James Leonard.
One beachfront home was completely destroyed by the flames, which shot up as high as 10 stories, according to witness accounts.
"You heard like a big thump and it sounded like someone was dropping a wrecking ball," said witness Christian Mino.
A total of 30 homes were evacuated as a precaution.
"It was scary because we were just sitting down eating our Easter dinner and the next thing you know, everybody was running out of the house, we had like 15 people in the house, " said Shannon Caravello, an Oakwood resident.
About 250 firefighters from Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Manhattan rolled in to try and tamp down the fire, fueled by dry grass and high winds.
Although none of the residents were hurt, one firefighter was treated for a minor injury.
The fire was under control by 6:00 Sunday night. Residents say the quick work by fire crews allowed them to salvage something of the holiday.
"Our friends live right here and I guess we'll try to get apiece of pie or turkey," said evacuated resident Joseph Morrissey. "We're just thankful no lives were lost."
"Some days are more difficult than others, but we try to do a good job," said the fire chief. "The guys did an excellent, excellent job."
Fifty different fire apparatus were brought in, including a Marine unit from Manhattan to attack the fire from the water.