Tag Archives: Fire

Firefighters battle two-alarm Hollis blazes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

Two separate two-alarm fires broke out within an hour of each other in Hollis Tuesday night, the FDNY said.

More than 100 firefighters and 25 units were called to a blaze at a home on 191st  Street near 109th Avenue, about 10:30 p.m.

On a night where temperatures dipped into the single digits, the fire was caused by a space heater, starting on the second floor and spreading throughout the house, according to the FDNY.

One person who was inside at the time of the fire escaped without injuries. No one else was hurt in the blaze, fire officials said. It was under control by 11:40 p.m.

A vacant home on 198th  Street near 104th Avenue in Hollis caught fire about 11:30 pm., the FDNY said.

Twenty-five units and around 100 firefighters were also called to the two-alarm blaze.

The fire, which was contained to the home’s basement and first floor, was under control by 1:15 a.m.  No one was injured, fire officials said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Manhole fire breaks out on Francis Lewis Boulevard


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

A manhole fire broke out in Flushing Monday night, the FDNY said.

The Fire Department responded to the blaze at Francis Lewis Boulevard near 33rd Avenue about 8:10 p.m., and, as of 8:30 p.m., were still on the scene and awaiting Con Edison, the FDNY said.

No injuries were reported.

 

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7-year-old boy dies in East Elmhurst fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Daily News

A New Year’s Day fire in East Elmhurst left a 7-year-old boy dead and a 13-year-old with second-degree burns, police said.

The blaze broke out about 9 a.m. Wednesday at a home on 90th Street near 31st Avenue, when sparks from a fireplace ignited nearby blankets and pillows, then spread to the furniture, according to the Fire Department. It was under control about an hour later.

The FDNY said the fireplace didn’t have a spark screen and there were no working smoke detectors in the house.

The 7-year-old, identified by police as Christopher Miller, was pronounced dead at the scene. The 13-year-old, who, according to published reports, is his older brother, was taken to Cornell Hospital with second-degree burns, where he was listed in stable condition.

Police said an adult family member suffered smoke inhalation in the fire.

Three firefighters also sustained minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

 

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73-year-old dies in fire at Flushing retirement home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A two-alarm fire at a Flushing retirement home Thursday killed a 73-year-old woman, police said.

The fire broke out just after midnight in an apartment at Flushing House, located on Bowne Street near 38th Avenue, according to the NYPD. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze about 3o minutes later.

Responding officers found a woman, who police identified as Natalie Blatt, inside the apartment, and she was taken to Flushing Hospital where she was pronounced dead, cops said. No one else was injured or displaced as a result of the blaze.

The fire is still under investigation, according to the FDNY.

 

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Late night fire tears through Whitestone auto body shop


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Welcome to Whitestone Civic Group

A Whitestone auto body shop erupted in flames late Saturday night, fire officials and residents said.

More than 100 firefighters responded to a two-alarm fire at 150-15 14th Road, the site of Whitestone Collision, at 11:13 p.m. on November 30, according to the FDNY. It was under control by 12:20 p.m.

There were no reported injuries, an FDNY spokesperson said.

“The fire was huge,” said Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association. “Whitestone Collision is on 14th Road, and I saw smoke down by 11th Avenue.”

The civic leader said firefighters filled the street to extinguish flames at the 1.5-story car body shop around midnight.

Nearby residents posted photos on Facebook of billowing smoke coming from the blazing building.

O’Connor said several ambulances were on scene but he “didn’t see anyone hurt.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Popular Maspeth restaurant O’Neill’s is back in business


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Just about everyone in Maspeth remembers when O’Neill’s restaurant and bar was reduced to ashes after a grease fire in 2011.

It was a devastating moment for the community, as the popular bar has been a staple in the neighborhood since 1933.

After extinguishing the blaze, local firefighters found within the rubble, the American flag that had flown over the watering hole. They held on to it for more than two years and encased it in a plaque that was presented to the owners of O’Neill’s during the bar’s grand reopening on Friday.

“It’s nice that we are able to give a little something back to them,” said Captain Joe Gandiello of FDNY Rescue 4. “This place has been here for forever it seems and it’s just a nice touch. It’s all we can do.”

During the summer the owners were hinting at a comeback. They eventually had a soft opening for the bar a few weeks ago and delayed the full ceremony for September 27.  But even during the soft opening, the bar was packed.

“I’m not only happy for myself, I’m happy for the community, because evidently they have been waiting for us to open,” said owner George O’Neill. “The night we opened, when we opened the door you couldn’t get in here.”

Representatives from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Congressmember Joe Crowley’s offices gave proclamations to the bar owners.

Just like it was before it was closed, the bar was bustling with so many local customers during its grand opening it was hard to walk around. Most came to the eatery because it was their favorite spot and to see old friends.

“It’s been gone for a long time,” said Tommy Young, a resident of Middle Village. “A lot of people used to get together here so I got to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Except for the fact that all the furniture and equipment is new, nothing has changed at O’Neill’s. There is still an area for fine dining, but also booths with mini TV screens for sports fans to watch what they want while they eat and of course the main bar in the center of the restaurant that anchors the bistro. The menu hasn’t change much either. There are still steaks, the popular Buffalo wings and brick-oven pizza.

There are more than 45 flat screen televisions around the bar and the owners have  added a catering room that can hold up to 200 people. They’ve also added a sprinkler system in the basement.

“Everything is pretty much brand new,” said manager Danny Pyle. “We’re thrilled to be able to serve the neighborhood. And they seem to feel the same way we do.”

 

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Five injured in Whitestone restaurant fire


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Devon O'Connor, President of Welcome To Whitestone Civic Association

MELISSA CHAN AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Five people were injured, two of them seriously, when a fire erupted inside a popular Whitestone Chinese restaurant Saturday, fire officials said.

Flames broke out at Emperor House Chinese Restaurant around 4:49 p.m., according to the FDNY.

Three victims sustained minor injuries and one man was being treated for second-degree burns at Jacobi Medical Center, authorities said.

Another victim was in serious but stable condition, the FDNY said.

Workers in the 10th Avenue shopping center said a man they believed to be either the restaurant’s owner or manager “came running out on fire.”

“His whole body was burned. His clothes were on fire,” said Angel Soriano, who works at a pizzeria next door.

Soriano said his co-workers tried smothering the blaze with towels while others threw water on the man.

“It was chaos,” said Ken Chieco, who also works at the pizzeria.

Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association, said the fire incinerated a woman’s hair and burned her arm.

The blaze was under control by 5:26 p.m., fire officials said. The cause is under investigation.
Emperor House was boarded up and roped off as of August 12.

Neighbors said they did not know the owner’s name, but described him as kind and friendly.

“When my daughter would work late, he would drive her home,” said Michelle Dejean. “That’s how nice that man is. Very nice people work there.”

 

 

 Updated, Monday, August 12

 

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Body discovered near Forest Park


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Google Maps

A man walking his dog near Forest Park found a man unconscious and unresponsive.

On Sunday, March 3, around 11:40 a.m., officers responded to a 9-1-1 call of a fire at the corner of Freedom Drive and Park South Drive just off of Woodhaven Boulevard. Police were met by a man walking his dog, who said his dog found the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

According to the New York Daily News, the victim was a homeless man who died when he accidentally caught fire from a blaze he set to keep warm.

The identity of the deceased is pending proper notiication. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Two charged with murder, starting fire to cover it up


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Authorities have arrested and charged two men in conjunction with the South Richmond Hill fire that revealed one man tied up and shot.

Jason St. Hill, 17, and Stephen Peters, 22, of Richmond Hill were arrested on Thursday, February 28. Both were charged with kidnapping, arson, murder and burglary, among other charges.

The victim, Azeem Ali, 43, was found unconscious and unresponsive after firefighters extinguished the blaze on 95th Avenue early the morning of Sunday, February 24.

St. Hill and Peters allegedly went to Ali’s second floor apartment to steal money from him. Once inside, Peters punched and pistol-whipped Ali, then tied his hands and feet with electrical cord, according to the criminal complaint.

Peters then went to the basement, where he found gasoline to bring back to Ali’s apartment. St. Hill allegedly held Ali at gunpoint, and Peters demanded Ali’s PIN number and his ATM card.

Then, Peters shot Ali in the head, and poured gasoline around the apartment before lighting it on fire.

After committing the grisly act, St. Hill and Peters allegedly left the scene and went to a gas station where they withdrew $200 cash using Ali’s card.

The pair is being held without bail and will return to court on Thursday, March 14. If convicted, they face up to 25 years to life in prison.

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South Richmond Hill man killed in ‘suspicious’ fire


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

A 43-year-old Asian man was killed in a “suspicious” fire in South Richmond Hill early Sunday morning, police said.

The unidentified victim was found dead on arrival inside a residence at 115-18 95th Avenue on February 24 at around 2:35 a.m. He had severe burns on his body, cops said.

The investigation is ongoing, but authorities say the fatal fire is deemed suspicious at this time.

The identification of the man is withheld pending family notification.

Check back with The Queens Courier for updates on this developing story.

Dromm, DRUM lead rally after Bangladesh factory fire


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

With his handheld camcorder, Gulam Sarwar Harum swept through the chanting crowd, capturing their faces and voices as they bellowed for the workers who perished in a fire in a Bangladesh factory.

“Workers’ rights and human rights! Workers’ rights and human rights!” they yelled, waving homemade signs etched with English and Bengali cries for justice.

“We feel that they are a part of us,” said Sarwar Harum, a member of advocacy group Desis Rising up and Moving (DRUM). “We have to speak on behalf of them.”

South Asian immigrant workers, representatives of DRUM and Councilmember Daniel Dromm rallied at the Jackson Heights Plaza to demand corporate accountability among major American companies that subcontract product assembly to workers overseas. Tensions peaked several weeks ago after a fire in a Bangladesh garment factory that yields merchandise for retailers like Walmart, Sears and Disney claimed 114 lives.

“Workers lost their lives for profit so some organization could make money,” said Fahd Ahmed, DRUM’s Legal and Policy Director at the gathering on Thursday, December 6.

Speakers called for an independent and transparent investigation into the cause of the fire as well as full and fair compensation to workers who were injured and reparations made to the families of the deceased. The group hopes other American brands will become aware of the dangers of unethically sourced goods — and that the human toll is far greater than the money saved by the companies.

Dromm, whose district contains a large Bangladeshi population, believes it’s important for issues abroad to impact stateside, as the corporations involved are based in the United States.

“It’s an American company that really is at fault for this fire,” said Dromm. “It’s the corporate greed of a company like Walmart that allows substandard-type conditions to exist in those companies that they contract out to.”

According to Dromm, the factory, which made girls’ shorts, could have provided better conditions for their workers if brands were willing to raise the price of their items by just a small amount — allowing employees to operate in healthier, safer environments and earn more than the average Bangladeshi salary of $37 a month. Dromm said the retailer’s desire to remain competitive among their price bracket rather than use ethical methods to source their merchandise was “unconscionable” and the reason Walmart and companies like it will struggle to establish stores in New York City.

“Walmart will never get into New York City,” said Dromm. “I will fight them to the very end.”

Breezy Point blaze destroys 80+ homes


| brennison@queenscourier.com


A six-alarm fire destroyed more than 80 homes in Breezy Point as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze and rescued residents.

The fire broke out at approximately 11 p.m. last night in Breezy Point, one of the neighborhoods Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered evacuated ahead of Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 10 hours later, areas of the flames are still smoldering, along with pockets of fire, officials said.

The fire completely destroyed an area of more than 80 homes. Firefighters had to battle chest-high flooding and needed baots to make several rescues.

Bloomberg said the blaze spread like a forest fire with winds carrying the flames from house to house.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital, authorities said.

 

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

Pizza delivery boy rapes woman in her Upper West Side home

A demented pizza delivery boy raped an upper West Side woman Saturday as her 7-year-old daughter slept in the bed beside her — and then offered an apology before fleeing, police and the victim said. Cesar Lucas, 16, was busted at his boss’ 10th Ave. pizzeria shortly after dropping off a pie in the building and then sexually assaulting his shocked victim, cops said. NYDailyNews

More Wall Street layoffs are coming

As Wall Street closes the books on Q3, a frightful future may lie ahead. More layoffs are on the way for the big banks, according to prominent bank analyst Glenn Schorr. The Nomura analyst in a recent report warns that many banks, which are still overstaffed, need a more liberal wielding of the ax to squeeze out more profits in the coming years, amid a global market that continues to look sluggish. NYPost

Paramedic partners busted in mysterious 2008 death of estranged wife

Was it the Emergency “Murder” Service? Two paramedic partners who worked together for years on an ambulance out of Jamaica Hospital have been busted in the mysterious 2008 death of the estranged wife of one of the men. Instead of saving lives, Paul Novak and Scott Sherwood are now locked up awaiting their next court date on charges of second-degree murder. NYPost

NY State police report jump in number of meth lab busts

New York state police say they’re responding to far more reports of methamphetamine labs this year than last. They say that troopers answered 45 reports of labs making the illegal amphetamines last year, compared with more than 100 so far in 2012. NYPost

Police investigate Bronx boy’s fall out of window

Investigators are still trying to figure out how a four-year-old boy fell to his death from an apartment window in the Concourse Village section of the Bronx on Saturday afternoon. Neighbors say Gabriel Estevez, seen above, was in the super’s apartment at a building on East 161st Street while his mother was at the laundromat. The fourth-floor apartment did not have window guards. NY1

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Rain and possibly a thunderstorm before noon, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm, mainly after noon. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds and heavy rain. High near 74. Breezy, with a southeast wind 14 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible. Friday night: Scattered showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. West wind 8 to 10 mph becoming northwest after midnight. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

EVENT of the DAY: Ella Fitzgerald

A musical that reflects on the life and songs of the legendary jazz/pop vocalist Ella Fitzgerald at Queens Theatre. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Serial arsonist, who set 13 fires in Queens, arrested

A serial arsonist has been arrested and confessed to setting 13 fires in Flushing, including a three-alarm inferno that injured 19 firefighters and two civilians in August, fire officials said. Thien K. Dinh, 43, of the Bronx, was arraigned in Queens on September 15 and charged with starting a series of fires within a three-week span across Flushing and Murray Hill from August 20 to September 13, according to the district attorney’s office. Read more: Queens Courier

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on world to block Iran’s nuclear ambitions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the Holocaust in an impassioned call Thursday for Iran to curtail its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Netanyahu, warning that Iran could produce a functional nuclear weapon by summer 2013, urged world leaders to impose strict limits on the program’s expansion. Read more: Daily News

Bronx teen admitted he shot mother in sleep, beat her with bat: court records

A cold-blooded Bronx teen admitted he shot his mother while she slept – then beat her with bat as she tried to rise, according to court records. Dee “Darwin” Jackson, 16, made the chilling admission to a police detective on Wednesday, just hours after the remains of his mom, Tihesha Savage, 34, were discovered in a dumpster across the street from the family’s home. Read more: NY Post

Garbage cans waste many parking spots on South Ozone Park streets

Some residents in South Ozone Park, Queens are using garbage cans to save parking in their neighborhood, and Department of Sanitation officials are now pledging to issue summonses if they see trash cans out on the street. Read more: NY1

World’s largest Ferris wheel coming to Staten Island

The Big Apple is getting another “biggest”: the world’s tallest Ferris wheel, part of an ambitious plan to draw New Yorkers and tourists alike to the city’s so-called “forgotten borough.” The 625-foot-tall, $230 million New York Wheel is to grace a spot in Staten Island overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the downtown Manhattan skyline, offering a singular view as it sweeps higher than other big wheels like the Singapore Flyer, the London Eye and a “High Roller” planned for Las Vegas. Read more: NBC NY

Man’s threat to light self on fire locks down Flushing school


| mchan@queenscourier.com


A 75-year-old Asian man from Bayside is undergoing psychiatric evaluation after he threatened to douse himself with gasoline and light himself on fire in a Flushing park, police said.

The NYPD could not disclose the man’s name because of current medical testing, but said he took over a wooden tool shed in Kissena Park on Colden Street and Geranium Avenue on Tuesday, September 25 at around 12:21 p.m. and made threats to set himself ablaze.

The man had refused to eat for four days in protest, a police source said, although it was not clear what he was demonstrating. He had racked up a laundry list of complaints against him in the past, police said.

A nearby public school, The East-West School of International Studies, had to be locked down, a police source said, while the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team and officers of the 109th Precinct moved in on the scene. The city’s Department of Education did not comment.

The man voluntarily surrendered to authorities and was taken, with no injuries, to Queens General Hospital for psychiatric evaluation, authorities said.

A Parks Department spokesperson said the man is a member of the Korean American Senior Citizens Society (KASCS). Members, the spokesperson said, are allowed to garden for free on “GreenThumb” public, city-owned community parklands like the Kissena Corridor Community Garden, now known as Evergreen Community Garden, in Kissena Park.

Sources on scene said the man’s distress stemmed from issues he had with the Parks land, but that could not be confirmed. The Parks spokesperson said the agency had not removed the man’s gardening privileges.