Tag Archives: Fire

Queens nonprofit programs look for new home after 5-alarm fire caused by overloaded power strip


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Riyad Hasan

Lilian Castillo lost what felt like her second home last week after a five-alarm fire, caused by an overloaded power strip, engulfed a Jackson Heights building.

Castillo was a former student at the Queens Community House (QCH)’s Adult Education/English Classes for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program and is currently an employee for the nonprofit organization.

QCH, which provided four of its programs at the Bruson Building, located at 74-09 37th Ave., lost its home when the building’s third and fourth floors went up in flames the evening of April 21. Various other organizations, businesses and Plaza College were also housed inside the building.

“When I came to this country from the Dominican Republic, Queens Community House was the first place that welcomed me,” Castillo said. “It was where I met the people who became my friends. I feel as if I lost my second home in the fire.”

The Jackson Heights site was home to QCH’s Adult Education/ESOL program, which provides free intensive English and citizenship classes; immigrant services, providing assistance with citizenship and other legal residency needs; a CASP program, helping youth who have obtained a diploma through a non-traditional high school apply to and succeed in community college; and its Queens Center for Gay Seniors, the borough’s only senior center primarily serving an LGBT older adult population.

Also lost in the fire was a computer lab that was used by all four programs, which aided about 300 residents daily.

“The Center was full of many special, shared memories from the past decade,” Program Director John Nagel said. “Photos, awards, artwork…all gone.”

QCH has been able to secure some space at the Sunnyside Community Services for its Adult Education English classes. It’s Queens Center for Gay Seniors will operate out the QCH’s Kew Gardens Community Center.

According to the FDNY, nine people sustained minor injuries as a result of the fire, including seven firefighters and a police officer.

The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical due to an overloaded power strip, according to the FDNY.

Anyone interested in helping QCH, can visit www.queenscommunityhouse.org.

 

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Five-alarm fire engulfs Jackson Heights commercial building, injuring nine


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Riyad Hasan

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO 

Updated 1:55 P.M.

A five-alarm fire broke out Monday night at a Jackson Heights building that houses a college and several businesses, leaving nine injured.

The blaze was reported about 5:45 p.m. on Monday, April 21, at the 74-09 37th Ave. building’s third and fourth floors, the FDNY said. By 10 p.m. it had grown to five alarms, with 44 units and around 200 firefighters responding. It was finally under control at about 11:40 p.m., according to fire officials.

An FDNY spokesman said nine people sustained minor injuries as a result of the fire, including seven firefighters and a police officer. The ninth victim, according to published reports, was a child from a nearby building who was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

The community’s “biggest immigrant service provider,” Queens Community House, an LGBT senior center, Plaza College and about 50 other offices, stores and businesses were located inside the fire-damaged structure, according to Councilman Daniel Dromm.

“This is a devastating fire for our community,” Dromm said. “I have spoken to the business owners, many who I know personally, and the effect on their establishments is truly horrible. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. We will rebuild and come back as a better and stronger Jackson Heights.”

Charles Callahan, president of Plaza College, said classes were not in session when the fire began and he has not been informed of the cause of the fire on the partially vacant floors.

“All faculty, staff and students were safely evacuated from the building,” a post on the school’s Facebook page said. It added there will be “no services of any type” at the college Tuesday.

Plaza College, which has about 750 students, has been located in the building since 1971 and has been planning to move to Forest Hills in September 2014. Classes were expected to begin in May.

However, at the moment, school officials are surveying nearby sites to find a temporary location for the school until September.

“We want to help students ensure that they aren’t misplaced. I’m sure we’ll get through this,” Callahan said. “My heart goes out because this has been my home for all these years.”

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation and firefighters were still at the scene as a precaution as of Tuesday morning, according to the FDNY.

 

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Two toddlers die in Far Rockaway home fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated Monday, April 21, 3:35 p.m.

Two 4-year-old siblings died early Easter morning in an accidental fire at a Far Rockaway home, according to the FDNY.

Firefighters responded to a one-alarm fire in the basement of a Bay 30th Street home at about 11:56 p.m. Saturday and the fire was under control by 1:17 a.m., officials said.

The cause of the blaze has been determined to be an accidental fire due to a child playing with fire, according to the FDNY.

Five people were removed from the two-story home, including 4-year-olds Jai’Luni Tinglin and Aniya Tinglin, who were taken to St. John’s Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

The two toddlers were half-siblings, according to the NYPD.

Another 4-year old girl, Jai’Luni’s twin sister, was taken to St. John’s Hospital and is in stable condition. A 55-year-old woman was transported to Jamaica Hospital and a 63-year-old man, identified by police as the kid’s grandfather, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center. Both are listed in stable condition, cops said.

An FDNY officer was also transported to a nearby hospital with minor and none life threatening injuries, fire officials said.

According to a report published on the New York Post’s website Monday, the FDNY said that ambulances were delayed in responding to the deadly blaze.

“We are looking at the timeline and why it happened,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said, according to the Post.

 

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3-alarm fire breaks out in South Richmond Hill home, damages second house


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sara E. Diaz

A blaze broke out at a home in South Richmond Hill Sunday afternoon, damaging a neighboring home.

The fire started about 11:25 a.m. at an occupied residence on 120th Street and grew to a three-alarm blaze 20 minutes later, the FDNY said. It was under control by about 12:35 p.m., according to fire officials, but not before damaging an adjacent house.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the blaze is under investigation, the FDNY said.

 

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Firefighters battle blazing Howard Beach brush fire


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Updated Monday, March 17, 9:25 a.m.

More than 100 firefighters tamed a massive brush fire that lit up Howard Beach late Saturday afternoon, the FDNY said.

Flames broke out in a field of reeds near Spring Creek Park at 83rd Street and 163rd Avenue at about 4:20 p.m., fire officials said.

The FDNY said it took about 138 firefighters and 33 units to put out the three-alarm blaze. It was under control by about 6:20 p.m.

There were no reported injuries, according to the Fire Department.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, an FDNY spokesperson said.

 

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92-year-old woman killed in Ridgewood fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

An elderly woman is dead after a fire at her Ridgewood home Monday morning, police said.

The blaze broke out around 10:30 a.m. at a residence on Himrod Street near Onderdonk Avenue, according to authorities.

After the fire was put out, responding officers found 92-year-old Maria Tchinkel inside, unresponsive and unconscious, police said.

Tchinkel was taken to Wyckoff Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of the death and the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the NYPD said.

 

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Fire breaks out at former Peninsula Hospital


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A blaze broke out at the former Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway Tuesday afternoon, the FDNY said.

The fire started in an outside boiler at the 51-15 Beach Channel Dr. site about 4:45 p.m. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze in about an hour, the FDNY said.

No one was injured in the fire.

Fire officials said the cause is still under investigation.

The hospital closed in 2012.

 

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Man found dead with body trauma after Flushing fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A 63 year-old man was found dead inside his Flushing home with severe trauma and burns to his body following an early morning fire Friday, police said.

The blaze broke out about 6 a.m. in the basement of a residential building at 43-06 159th St., and was under control by 6:40 a.m., the FDNY said.

After extinguishing the fire, an officer discovered the victim unconscious and unresponsive, police said. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens where he was pronounced dead.

The fire marshal will determine the cause of the blaze and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death, the NYPD said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunshine and clouds mixed. High 22. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mainly clear. Low 8. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering

In the interactive exhibit Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering at the New York Hall of Science, visitors can create and explore a range of high and low tech tools that extend human abilities. The exhibit features a simulated downhill mono-ski course; a DJ station built out of a wheelchair and controlled by the wheels; a touch panel that translates music into vibrations; a hands-free computer mouse, controlled through slight movements of the head, that allows the guest to type messages, edit photos or watch videos; and a neuroprosthetic limb that can be controlled by a person’s thoughts. Free with museum admission. The New York Hall of Science is located at 47-01 111th Street, Corona.

Two-alarm fire breaks out at DOT garage in Forest Hills

A two-alarm blaze broke out at a Department of Transportation garage in Forest Hills early Thursday morning, the FDNY said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Less than half show up for school day after snowstorm

It’s was a tale of two cities — half the kids went to school and the other half didn’t. Read more: New York Post

Mayor de Blasio: ‘More could have been done’ on Upper East Side snow

The winter storm dumped not only snow, but also a swirling controversy as many ask if the man elected mayor of New York City is treating the boroughs equally by plowing some less than others? Read more: ABC New York

Republicans, Dolan blast Cuomo for remarks about ‘extreme conservatives’

High-profile Republicans and Cardinal Timothy Dolan are among those calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to apologize for “divisive” comments about “extreme conservatives.” Read more: CBS New York/AP

Snowstorm gives MetLife Stadium dress rehearsal

The NFL and personnel at MetLife Stadium had a Super Bowl pop quiz on snow removal less than two weeks before the title game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Read more: NBC New York

Two-alarm fire breaks out at DOT garage in Forest Hills


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Don Preus

A two-alarm blaze broke out at a Department of Transportation garage in Forest Hills early Thursday morning, the FDNY said.

The fire started just before 5 a.m. through the roof of the one-story building at 69-46 Sybilla St. It was under control at about 7: 40 a.m., the FDNY said.

There were no injuries reported and the cause is still under investigation, according to the Fire Department.

 

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Fire breaks out at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A fire at a John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport cargo building Tuesday night left more than a dozen people suffering from smoke inhalation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

The minor trash fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. on the cargo building’s loading bay of cargo building and was out in about 3o minutes, according to the FDNY and Port Authority.

Fourteen people were treated at the scene and four people were taken to the hospital, according to published reports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.

 

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Op-ed: Stay safe – and warm – this winter


| oped@queenscourier.com

 SALVATORE J. CASSANO

More than a third of all serious fires in New York City happen during the winter months, when people often resort to unsafe measures, as they attempt to heat their homes and stay warm. As a result, there are many preventable fires resulting in unnecessary loss of life and property.

Some fires are caused by unattended open flames, such as decorative or commemorative candles, fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. They should never be left unattended and you should always extinguish them completely before going to bed at night.

Other fires are caused by electric heating equipment and the devices used in conjunction with them, like extension cords and power strips. Portable space heaters and electric blankets can be extremely dangerous if they are poorly maintained, inappropriately powered, or – in the case of space heaters – placed too close to combustible objects. You should not purchase these products, or any power strips or extension cords unless they are Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) approved and have the UL mark. You should also periodically check the integrity of these products to ensure that they don’t become too worn or damaged for use.

Most importantly, every home should have working smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. These devices save lives. We know this because in nearly 80 percent of the fire deaths in recent years, the Fire Department found no working smoke alarm present.

We have made education about the importance of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms a cornerstone of our Fire Safety Education (FSE) effort. Teams of Fire Safety Educators conduct hundreds of information sessions each year throughout the city, reaching about 600,000 New Yorkers every year, and at the same time they distribute hundreds of thousands of free smoke and carbon monoxide alarm batteries and tens of thousands of detectors.

During the last year we’ve focused our fire safety efforts on communities impacted by Sandy, because of the many problems associated with the storm in these areas. Dozens of serious fires occurred both during and in the aftermath of the storm, as salt water impacted home electrical systems, and residents in these areas resorted to unconventional and even dangerous ways of heating and powering their homes. This winter, through the Hurricane Sandy Fire Safe Program, Fire Safety Educators have been reaching out to older New Yorkers in areas of Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island that were hit hardest by the storm, hosting educational events, visiting homes to conduct fire safety reviews and discuss fire safety exit plans, and installing smoke, carbon monoxide and hard-of-hearing alarms.

The FDNY has done an extraordinary job in reducing the number of fatal fires in New York City in the last decade – which has been overall the safest in nearly a century of recordkeeping. But, even one death by fire is too many – so, our goal and commitment is to do everything possible to protect everyone from the danger of fires and that starts with prevention.

Please do your part in protecting yourself and your family by adhering to these basic winter fire safety tips, which can be viewed in full at: on.nyc.gov/JhUFjt.

Remember – working smoke detectors save lives! Please make sure you have them in your home!

Salvatore J. Cassano is New York City’s 32nd Fire Commissioner

 

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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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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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