Tag Archives: Fire

Fire safety education campaign launched at LeFrak City following fatal New Year’s Eve blaze


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new campaign has been launched at LeFrak City to help educate residents to prevent a tragedy like the New Year’s Eve fire, which killed three people, from occurring again.

Just minutes before ringing in 2015, an unattended pot of a traditional Haitian soup cooking on a stove sparked a fire that left three dead in their Corona apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental, and no working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

In response to the fire, state Sen. Jose Peralta, together with the FDNY, LeFrak City Organization and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, announced on Thursday the launch of a fire safety education campaign for the apartment complex. 

“New Yorkers awoke on New Year’s Day to news of the horrific tragedy that struck LeFrak City just as we were all ringing in 2015 and looking forward to the promise the new year held for us and our loved ones,” Peralta said.

During this campaign, the FDNY will conduct fire safety education presentations for tenants on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Rome Tower of LeFrak City, located at 96-10 57th Ave. 

Food Bazaar Supermarkets donated $500 worth of smoke detector batteries, which will be available to tenants who attend the presentations, made possible by the FDNY Foundation.

“The lesson from the fire is that a working smoke alarm can be a life-saving piece of home safety equipment,” Peralta said. “An operating smoke detector provides a quick and early warning, providing the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire and potential tragedy.”

According to Gerald Rivera, general manager of LeFrak City Maintenance Services, owners are required to periodically replace smoke detectors upon expiration of their life, which is about 10 years. The replacements must then have a non-removable and non-replaceable battery that gives power to the alarm for a minimum of 10 years.

“LeFrak City has a proactive program to replace all campus detectors over a two-year period, a full year in advance of the required deadline,” Rivera said. “Since December 2013, we have replaced 1,600 of the old smoke detectors and will complete all remaining 3,006 replacements by the end of 2015.”

Malikah K. Shabazz, a tenant and president of the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association, said she will inform other tenants about the presentation by working with management to post notices on each floor and in the lobby, and send emails reminding people.

“We get comfortable and take a lot of things for granted and a lot of times we have to constantly be reminded to take precautions when you’re cooking or whatever you are doing that uses flame. You just have to be very careful,” Shabazz said. “It’s a blessing for them to come into our community and assist us in any way that they can.”

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Deadly Jamaica house fire caused by extension cords: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A Jamaica house blaze that killed one man and left his 89-year-old mother injured was an accidental fire sparked by extension cords, the FDNY said.

The electrical fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. Monday in the basement of a single-family home on 118th Road near Marsden Street, authorities said. It took firefighters until about 5:10 a.m. to put out the flames.

There were no working smoke detectors in the two-story house, according to the FDNY.

A 64-year-old man was taken to Queens Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. His mother was transported to Franklin Hospital in stable condition.

A third person refused medical attention at the scene.

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Victims of Ozone Park 5-alarm fire could be out of their homes for three to six more months


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Residents of an Ozone Park apartment building watched their homes damaged by flames just a week before Christmas. And now it looks like they won’t be returning home for months to come.

It may take up to three to six months for the building at 103-45 97th St. to be made livable again as the owner and architect are working around the clock to get it fixed as soon as possible, according to a representative from Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office.

The owner has just about finished cleaning debris from the fire- and water-damaged building and is now in the process of working with city agencies to move plans for repairs forward.

The architect who took over the project will be sending plans to the Department of Buildings as early as this week in a bid to get city approval to patch up the roof and seal the windows, making the building “water tight” and livable again, the representative said.

OZP_BUILDING2

Once all the construction is finished, that will conclude the first phase of the recovery process. After it is finished, the process will move much faster and residents will be able to get back into their homes.

The representative said that at this point there has been no problem with communication between the owner of the building and the city, and that the city has been very receptive to this case.

The fire started around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18. The attic and fourth floor sustained most of the fire damage, and the other floors mostly had damage from the torrents of water used to extinguish the five-alarm blaze. It took firefighters two hours to bring the fire under control.

Most of the building’s residents found shelter with families, but some turned to the Red Cross for help. They were given a free place to stay over that weekend, and if they still couldn’t find a place to live after that, they had to go down to the Red Cross corporate headquarters in Manhattan to be put on a list for temporary housing until they can return to the building.

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Corona church closes ‘until further notice’ after electrical fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2:10 p.m.

Devoted parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church will have to find another place to worship next week after a Sunday morning blaze ripped through their beloved sanctuary.

Church officials are not sure how long it will take to make the extensive repairs. But crews were already at work Monday.

The fire broke out at 5:45 a.m. on the first floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-11 37th Ave., not long before parishioners were expected to begin attending the first Sunday morning Mass, the FDNY said.

According to published reports, Monsignor Thomas Healy of Our Lady of Sorrows led prayers outside the church Sunday after having to cancel all masses.

Two firefighters were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with minor injuries.

Fire marshals determined Monday that the cause of the fire was electrical due to wiring in the organ pipe tower.

According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the church has close to 12,000 to 13,000 parishioners and has been serving the community since 1872.

“All of our shrines, churches and cathedrals are sacred and special in their own individual ways. What makes Our Lady of Sorrows stand out is that it is a parish of immigrants in the Diocese of Immigrants,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.

On Monday the block in front of the church remained closed off by police tape, as construction crews worked on repairing the site. There are flyers posted around the block letting residents and parishioners know that there are no Mass services until further notice.

According to a receptionist at Our Lady of Sorrows, it could take one to two weeks for the doors of the church to open again because they want to make sure the area is safe and clean.

Weekday and Sunday Mass services have been now moved to the auditorium of Our Lady Of Sorrows Catholic Academy, located at 35-34 105th St. For the service schedule, visit www.olschurch-corona.org.

The school itself was closed Monday because electricity had to be shut off due to the fire. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, according to the school’s website.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is fully committed to helping this church rebuild so that it may continue serving its faithful community as it has been doing since 1872,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in the statement. “As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, let us pray for our fellow parishioners in Corona during this time of rebuilding.”

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64-year-old man killed in Jamaica house fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 6, 9:59 a.m.

An early morning house fire in Jamaica left one man dead and his elderly mother injured, authorities said.

The fire started just after 3:30 a.m. on Monday in the basement of the two-story home on 118th Road near Marsden Street, authorities said. It took firefighters until about 5:10 a.m. to control the flames.

Two residents were taken to area hospitals, according to police.

An 89-year-old woman was transported to Franklin Hospital in stable condition. Her 64-year-old son was taken to Queens Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. His identity has not been released by police.

A third person refused medical treatment at the scene, the FDNY said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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New Year’s Eve cooking accident caused deadly fire at LeFrak City: officials


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Orest Petrychyn

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 10:38 a.m.

An unattended pot of soup cooking on a stove sparked a horrific New Year’s Eve fire that left three dead in their LeFrak City apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The blaze was reported by a call to 911 at 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly went to a second alarm.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire at the 16-story apartment tower at 96-02 57th Ave. in Corona. After firefighters battled their way through a smoke-filled hallway, they found two women and a man unconscious and unresponsive in Apt. 9C.

All three were pronounced dead at area hospitals.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

Donnay and Jean-Charles were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Michel was taken to Forest Hills Hospital.

The family was preparing a traditional Haitian New Year’s Eve soup on the stove that night when it was left unattended, causing the fire, according to officials. The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental and no working smoke alarms were found in the home.

“Right away, we took our jackets and we started knocking on the doors letting people know there’s a fire,” one resident told WCBS TV. “There was smoke all over the place.”

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

According to a LeFrak City Organization spokesman, the building has no fire violations and the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors as required by law.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those affected,” the spokesman said. “A smoke detector rider attesting to the presence of this life safety equipment was signed and initialed by the tenant in 2012.”


A YouTube video posted of the fire shows flames shooting from the ninth floor balcony.

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Families forced from their homes for the holidays after 5-alarm fire in Ozone Park


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

This holiday season has been tinged with tragedy for dozens of families who were forced to flee their homes in an Ozone Park apartment building after a raging fire swept through the five-story building’s top two floors Dec. 18.

Many of the families affected were able to find a place to stay temporarily with friends or family. But, as of Dec. 19, 11 families had no place to go and turned to the Red Cross for help. The disaster response agency provided those families with three nights of shelter in a nearby hotel.

They were also given vouchers for food and clothing. Meanwhile, Councilman Eric Ulrich also pitched in by providing some of the families with food and clothing.

Families that did not find a more permanent place to stay by Dec. 22 were told to go to the Red Cross headquarters in Manhattan, where the agency will help them look for temporary housing until their apartments are rebuilt and habitable. This alternate housing would be in city-owned properties throughout the five boroughs, according to Ulrich’s office.

Because the vacant housing stock in the city is not plentiful, the Red Cross cannot promise a local place for the families to stay temporarily and Ulrich is worried that those children who were affected by the fire may not be able to get to school once the holiday break is over.

His office is currently working with the city for local places where the families may be able to stay and has even made some calls to privately owned housing units to see if they can accommodate the families.

The fire ripped through the fourth floor and attic of the apartment building, located at 103-45 97th St., around 4:20 p.m. on the evening of Dec. 18. It took a little over two hours for fire fighters to bring the fire under control.

Fire damaged the fourth floor and attic portion of the apartment building while the other three floors sustained water damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the FDNY.

According to Ulrich’s office, the Department of Buildings believes that once the first three floors are dried out and checked again for any further damage, residents living on those floors may be able to return. But there is no timetable for when that might happen. The families living on the fourth floor will have a longer wait until they can return home as there is more infrastructure damage on that floor, due to the fire.

“We’re working with the city agencies, the Red Cross and nonprofits to make sure that those families and residents that were impacted by the fire get the services they need,” said Redmond Haskins, a representative from Ulrich’s office. “I encourage anyone who has been affected by the fire to give our office a call so we could give help.”

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5-alarm fire breaks out in Ozone Park residential building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

Updated Friday, Dec. 19, 9:45 a.m. 

A five-alarm blaze broke out in an Ozone Park building on Thursday, displacing residents and disrupting subway service, officials said.

The blaze started at about 4:20 p.m. in the four-story residential building at 103-45 97th St., near Liberty Avenue, officials said.

By 5 p.m., the fire had spread to five-alarms. It took firefighters until about 6:40 p.m. to bring it under control. The flames were contained to its roof and the attic area below it.

The fire also affected subway service in the area, causing suspensions and delays on the A and C lines.

One minor injury was treated at the scene, according to the FDNY. The injury, however, was related to exposure to the cold and not the fire.

Two dozen families were displaced by the fire, and 11 of them, which included 43 people, turned to the Red Cross for emergency housing, according to the organization.

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Woman dies in Flushing house fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Authorities are investigating a Flushing house fire that left a 46-year-old woman dead.

The blaze broke out just before 4 p.m. on Thursday in a home at 150-24 25th Dr., the FDNY said. The fire was under control by 4:15 p.m.

Inside the home, a woman, who has yet to be identified by police was discovered and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The fire and the woman’s cause of death are still under investigation.

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Man sets fire to cop car during arson spree near Elmhurst Hospital: DA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

police car

Updated 5:07 p.m.

A man was busted for trying to set an NYPD cruiser and five other cars on fire near Elmhurst Hospital by stuffing burning rags into the gas tanks, police said.

“The defendant is charged with damaging six vehicles by stuffing a rag in each of the vehicles’ gas tanks and setting it ablaze,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “These incidents should not be viewed as a prank.”

According to Brown’s office, Miguel Ramos, 23, stuffed a dark rag into the gas tank of a Honda on Layton Street near the hospital before setting the cloth ablaze about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Ramos then went a few doors down to place another lit rag into a Nissan.

After police arrived, four more vehicles were found in the vicinity of the hospital with burning rags stuffed in their tanks, including a Chevrolet,  an Audi and a marked police vehicle, officials said. The fire charred and damaged the rear area and gas tanks of the cars.

Ramos, an Astoria resident, was arraigned on Dec. 4 on three counts of third-degree criminal mischief and six counts of fourth-degree arson,  the district attorney’s office said. If convicted, Ramos could face up to four years in prison.

Police did not immediately have a motive.

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3-alarm fire breaks out at St. Albans building


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

It took firefighters almost four hours to control a large blaze at a St. Albans commercial building Tuesday night, according to the FDNY.

The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. at the one-story building, located at 104-03 108th Street. It quickly grew to three alarms and was under control by about 10:40 p.m., fire officials said.

The roof of the structure, a food packaging factory, collapsed, according to multiple reports.

Four firefighters suffered minor injuries, the FDNY said.

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Fire breaks out at Howard Beach building


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

A one-story commercial building on Cross Bay Boulevard caught fire Thursday evening.

Around 5:22 p.m., a fire broke out in the cockloft of the building, which houses Scott Baron and Associates Law Office, located at 159-49 Cross Bay Blvd., according to the FDNY.

Firefighters had the flames under control by about 6:00 p.m., the FDNY said.

About eight engine trucks were on scene.

There were no injuries, according to the FDNY.

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Underground fire breaks out in Astoria


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A possible utility fire broke out underground in Astoria Thursday afternoon, causing evacuations in the area, fire officials said.

The fire started about 2:45 p.m. on 36th Street near 24th Avenue, according to the FDNY. No injuries have been reported, but nearby homes have been evacuated as a precaution.

The cause of the flames, which were coming up through the sidewalk, may be from an underground transformer, according to ABC New York,

Con Edison has been called to the scene to investigate.

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Unattended candles caused St. Albans fire that killed two children: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated Tuesday, Oct. 7, 12:20 p.m.

Two young brothers were killed in a St. Albans fire Monday night after candles were left unattended in their home, according to authorities.

The fire, at a two-story residence at 188-15 Tioga Dr., broke out around 7:10 p.m. in the living room on the first floor, engulfing the home, the FDNY said. It took about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

Fire officials found a candle melted on the floor near the sofa, where the flames ignited. Witnesses said the family used candles, which were found throughout the home, in prayer ceremonies, according to the FDNY. There were no smoke detectors on the first and second floors of the home. Smoke detectors in the basement failed to go off.

Two boys, Andrew Kavanagh, 6, and John Kavanagh, 11, were discovered on the second floor and taken to Queens Hospital Center, where they died, police said.

A third victim, a 33-year-old man, was transported to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition after he jumped from a window to escape, authorities said. He sustained injuries to his hands and feet. The man’s exact relationship to the children was not immediately clear, but police said it does not appear he is related to them.

Two firefighters also suffered minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

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Three found dead with slash wounds in Flushing fire: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated 4:18 p.m. 

Police are investigating the deaths of three people who were found with slash wounds in a Flushing apartment fire Tuesday morning as a possible murder-suicide, authorities said.

The blaze started just before 5 a.m. in the top floor of a six-story building at 143-40 Roosevelt Ave., the FDNY said. The fire, which was contained to one apartment, was brought under control in about 30 minutes.

A 54-year-old woman, 50-year-old man and 15-year-old boy, were discovered dead in the blaze, cops said. According to published reports, the victims were a husband , wife and son.

Police sources said the bodies were badly burned, but appeared to have had wounds on their necks. A suicide note was found a the scene. The medical examiner will determine how the victims died.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Three firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, the FDNY said.

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