NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A five-alarm fire raged in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, leaving at least 18 firefighters and three residents with minor injuries, sources tell CBS 2.
The roof burned until it was gone, and flames shot out of windows – only to be whipped around by gusty winds that made a bad situation even worse, reports CBS 2′s Dave Carlin.
“I see the wind gusts, and it’s very hard for firefighters to put it out, and the top floor is gone,” one witness said.
At least 100 residents live in the building, and it appeared late Saturday night that all had been evacuated safely. Firefighters went floor by floor, making sure everyone was out of the building.
Celeste and Gary Bent were home. They say they heard a commotion before they saw smoke.
“I heard kids screaming ‘fire,’” Celeste said. “I went, opened the door, and saw the kids running down the stairs with pajamas on.”
The Bent family moved into the 29th Street building in 1973, and they were forced out into the cold streets with only the clothes on their backs.
“We’ll talk to the Red Cross, I guess they’ll put us up, and see what happens,” Celeste said.
Hundreds of firefighters responded to the fire, which reportedly caused the collapse of several floors of the six-story building on East 29th Street.
Several area streets were shut down to traffic, blocked off by emergency vehicles, during the effort to contain the blaze.
Complicating matters for firefighters Saturday night were the whipping winds, which during the course of the day had topped 50 miles per hour. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory for the Tri-State until four a.m. Sunday.