Dozens Spend Night In Shelter After Hempstead Apartment Fire

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Red Cross says about 40 people stayed overnight in a shelter, and more went to friends’ and families’ homes, after a fire raged through a Long Island apartment complex.

Nobody was seriously hurt, but officials say more than 50 apartments were destroyed and about 300 residents were displaced Thursday afternoon in Hempstead Village.

“Fire alarm didn’t even go off at all,” one resident said. “Then when I stepped in the hall, all I see is the little blinker keep going off. I was wondering, ‘Why was not the alarm going off?'”

It took firefighters from 15 different department two hours to get the blaze under control.

“The wind also played a contributing factor to the fire spreading,” Deputy Mayor Waylyn Hobbs said. “That’s what made this fire so difficult is that it was wind-driven.”

The assistant chief fire marshal for Nassau County, Michael Uttaro, says the fire may have started as workers welded pipes in a vacant apartment.

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