NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Two firefighters were trapped Tuesday as they braved the cold to battle an extra-alarm fire that ripped through three buildings in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
As CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider reported, the fire broke out just before 2 p.m. in a three-story building at 175 Bedford Ave., just off North 8th Street. It later spread to two other buildings, tearing through seven apartments and three businesses.
“It’s very, very difficult,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Robert Strong. “Once everything starts to freeze over, it’s trying to put out a fire in an ice skating rink.”
Meanwhile, part of the ceiling in the building collapsed, leaving two firefighters trapped, FDNY officials said.
They were taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, where both were listed in good condition, CBS 2 reported.
Fire officials said at least eight other firefighters and three civilians also suffered minor injuries.
After last year’s mild winter, many workers were not used to the bitter cold. Con Ed worker Nelson Velez was out in the cold for hours, taking all the breaks he could inside his truck.
“It’s kind of tough, especially at nighttime when the weather gets real bad,” he said. “The temperature starts to drop, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
And it was not just the workers suffering. More than a dozen people were forced out of their homes by the fire on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg.
They had no idea when they’ll get back inside to get warm clothes or any of their belongings.
“It’s one of the coldest days of the year and it’s not getting warmer. And if there’s water in our place, I’m sure it’s going to freeze,” said fire victim Meryl Taradash. ”It’s not going to be easy, but we’re tough, we’re New Yorkers and we’re tough, and I’m sure we’ll survive this.”
It was a sentiment that many shared.
“It’s refreshing for it to actually feel like winter every once in a while,” said Caroline Jaczko. “That’s how I look at it.”
“Bundle up,” said Jonathan Schmidt. “That’s all you can do.”
Authorities said the fire was declared under control at about 3:30 p.m., although firefighters remained on the scene until almost 9 p.m. There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.
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