NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – One person was killed and nine others were injured in a three-alarm fire during Thursday’s snow storm on Staten Island.
The fire broke out around 7 a.m. at a multi-family home on Post Avenue in Port Richmond and quickly grew to three alarms.
Fire officials say they got there quickly, but that’s when the real challenge began, working and climbing through the snow and slush to put up ladders to rescue some of the people trapped inside, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
Tim Schroeder, who lives in the building, said he walked out to get a bagel and when he came back, it was bursting with flames. He said he heard people screaming for help and jumping from the top floor.
“He was screaming ‘Tim, please help!’ The windows were melting. The flames were so high. I tried to get in the house. The smoke came out. I have asthma, I had to get across the street,” Schroeder said. “They were jumping from the top balcony onto this truck, barefoot, no jacket, no nothing — screaming,” he said.
One resident was killed and seven others were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. One firefighter and one EMS worker also have minor injuries.
Roughly 140 firefighters responded to the scene. The winter storm added challenges to fighting the fire.
“We did get here within three minutes… in itself that was a miracle.” a fire chief told Bauman. “It’s just difficult to work. It’s difficult to see. It’s slipping and sliding when you put a ladder up. It’s very dangerous. It takes longer to get the hoses in place. The weather just definitely delays the process.”
Investigators are trying to figure out the cause of the fire and they do say it is suspicious because of how big the flames were and how quickly they burst up into the air, Bauman reported.