Two months after Sandy hit, the FDNY has determined the cause of most of the serious fires that occurred during the superstorm, including the Breezy Point blaze that decimated 126 homes and damaged 22 others, Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano announced this week.
“A total of 21 serious fires occurred during the storm, destroying more than 200 homes and businesses across the city, and fire marshals have determined that most were sparked by sea water impacting electrical systems and components in and around these structures,” said Cassano.
Storm conditions also contributed to the severity of these fires because floodwaters made it difficult for authorities to reach and control them, and winds helped spread the fires, according to the FDNY.
The six-alarm Breezy Point blaze, which started around 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 29, the night of the superstorm, started when water that came in contact with the electrical system of a one-story house at 173 Ocean Avenue. After it spread to over a hundred other homes, firefighters finally brought it under control at about 6:30 a.m the next day.
According to the FDNY, one of those blazes started when utility wires fell onto a three-story commercial and residential structure at 113-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard during the storm, spreading to and destroying and 16 other buildings.
Another Rockaway Beach fire, at a Beach 129 Street home, was also caused by utility wires and destroyed 32 structures after authorities couldn’t reach it for several hours.
In addition to the 21 serious storm-related blazes in New York City, there were another 73 structural ones, said the FDNY.
Most of these blazes, 68, was electrical-related, 20 began because of an open flame, such as candles or a stovetop, and six started because of generators.