Fire Engulfs East Village Apartment Rooftop

By Tim Minton, Tom Llamas and Andrew Siff
|  Thursday, Jul 8, 2010  |  Updated 8:50 PM EDT
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A late-afternoon fire turned an East Village rooftop into a towering inferno on Thursday but, after going to three-alarms, firefighters were able to get it under control within a half hour.

A late-afternoon fire turned an East Village rooftop into a towering inferno on Thursday but, after going to three-alarms, firefighters were able to get it under control within a half hour.

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A raging fire threatened to destroy building on Houston Street Thursday aftrernoon.

The 911 call came in at 5:36 p.m., officials said. Within 15 minutes the inferno had completely engulfed the rooftop of the five-story building at 240 East Houston Street.

Officials said the residential building had scaffolding surrounding it and there was work being done on the roof.

"There was a ball of fire on the roof of the building," said Pete Giannopoulos, owner of Remedy Diner across the street. "The building didn't seem dilapidated or anything, I don't know if they were doing construction or what."

The fire was at three alarms by 5:55 p.m., with 138 firefighters on the scene, officials said. No injuries had been reported as of that time. By 6:05 firefighters were on the roof and seemed to have the blaze under control.

Eight firefighters suffered minor heat-related injuries, officials said.

The sweltering heat has been a deterrent in fighting fires around the city for the past few days. On Wednesday, two separate five-alarm fires sent at least 30 firefighters to the hospital with minor injuries related to the heat.

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