Deadly 4-alarm fire spreads through numerous stores in New York’s Jackson Heights, Queens

Some of the extensive damage that resulted from the four-alarm fire firefighters fought to control overnight Feb. 4-5, 2021, in Jackson, Heights, Queens, NYC. Photo Credit – New York City Fire Department

A massive 4-alarm fire from a restaurant in Jackson Heights, NY, a locality often referred to as Little India, spread through the street damaging several stores and injuring seven firefighters on the night of March 4.

The fire started at around 10.30pm from the basement of Prince Kebab & Chinese Restaurant at 37-54 74th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens on Thursday night, according to Fire Department New York City (FDNY).

The FDNY dispatched around 160 firefighters who found the fire had extended from the basement into the upper level above the ceiling, which is called the cockloft, and spread to numerous stores down the street. The fire was extinguished by 4.30am next morning.

Firefighters containing the 4-alarm fire 37-54 74th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Credit – New York City Fire Department

At around 10.30pm on Thursday night residents from neighboring streets smelled heavy smoke in the air and heard fire engine alarms.

Darshak Gosalia who lives on the next street behind the restaurant went to the rooftop of his building to inspect the source and found the stores on fire. “It was disturbing to say the least that so many stores were on fire. The air was so thick with smoke I was barely able to figure anything out,” he told News India Times.

Gosalia says so much smoke penetrated neighboring buildings that several residents had to evacuate due to the fumes and smell.

He says phones, TV cable and the internet went out making it difficult for people to watch the news or contact anyone.

“Authorities have barricaded the street and are now assessing the damages,” said Gosalia.

Another resident who lives close to the restaurant, who does not wish to be named, had to move into a friend’s place for the night.

“My whole apartment was filled with smoke. It was a horrible incident to say the least. There are a lot of elders and children who live around here who were so harried due to all of this. Many people had to sit in their building lobbies through the night,” she says.

The roof of Prince Kebab & Chinese Restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens where the massive fire started.
Credit – Darshak Gosalia

According to her, the fire was so hazardous that it took firefighters a long time getting started. They also had to put a hole in the restaurants roof to release the smoke.

“Our units arrived in four minutes to find heavy fire in the restaurant occupancy. There are seven Firefighters with minor injuries. The fire was placed under control,” said FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgens said from the scene early Friday morning in a post on FDNY’s site.






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