NY Fire Department blames open door, delay calling 911 as reasons for severity of fire in Jackson Heights

FDNY personnel at the site of the 8-alarm fire April 6, 2021. Photos: FDNY Facebook

The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) says a resident who left their door open when the deadly April 6 fire started, and the delay in calling 911 were major reasons why  an apartment building in Jackson Heights, Queens suffered major damage and displaced scores of people.

In a statement posted on its Facebook account, the FDNY updated the situation April 7, afternoon. FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro speaking from the scene of the fire at 89-07 34th Avenue in Queens said,

“It took the Department eight alarms and almost 12 hours to place the fire under control, working inside, outside, causing many injuries to our members and some injuries to civilians,” the FDNY said.

Top FDNY officials at the April 6, 2021 8-alarm fire in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. Photo FDNY Facebook

“Some of the causes as to why this fire got to the condition of what it was is a delay in notifying the Fire Department. People smell smoke, they notify someone else other than us. Call the Fire Department, we will find the source,” Commissioner Nigro urged.

“We were notified a little late here. The door to the fire apartment was left open,” he noted, citing an instance back in 2017, when 13 people in the Bronx died in a fire where the door was left open.

“… we’ve been saying as much as we could after that fire to please, if you have a fire in your home and you have to leave, close that door to keep that fire contained,” he appealed.

“Our first units were met in the hall with heavy fire and were unable to push their lines as much as they tried, and three members were burned trying to get that fire contained to that apartment,” Commissioner Nigro described.

“Once the fire in this building got into that space between the ceiling and the roof called the cockloft, it became uncontrollable. It displaced hundreds of people,” he said.

“Thankfully, this fire was on the top floor,” Nigro said, recalling that the Bronx fire in 2017 had been on the first floor and ended up killing 13 people, all of them above the fire.

“Had this fire been lower in the building, it could have had a terrible result and a loss of life with that door being left open. Fire Marshals have not been able to enter the building to examine it, so we do not have a cause of the fire. It is not suspicious,” Commissioner Nigro said.

According to news reports quoting authorities some 240 people have been forced out of their homes. Twenty one people were injured, 16 of them firefighters.

According to ABC7ny.com, the Red Cross has set up a place nearby to help those affected by the fire.

The South Asian Council for Social Services, a community organization at the grassroots based in Queens , told Desi Talk it had not received any communication from people it serves about the fire and whether they had suffered losses.



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