Four people were taken to hospitals with life-threatening injuries and another four FDNY members also transported after a raging fire broke out in a Queens home early Friday, authorities say.
Firefighters initially got the call about the blaze on the first floor of the home on 35th Avenue, near 64th and Rowan streets, around 12:15 a.m. Twelve FDNY units with 60 members responded. They encountered raging flames coming out of the windows when they arrived and went to the second floor, where they were told that people may have been trapped. Firefighters found three and pulled them out.
A fourth person was rescued as well. The fire was out within two hours. Firefighters described a harrowing few moments as they searched for victims.
"We knew there were people trapped on the upper floor. When we arrived, Firefighter [William] Long made his way up to begin his search," said Lieutenant Glenn Fischer, Squad 288. "I heard him call it over the radio and as I heard that, I could see him through the smoke bringing someone out of a room. I guided him down the stairs to make sure that he and the person made it out of the building safely. Our communication was great and all our companies did a great job."
The four hurt firefighters are expected to be OK; details on their injuries weren't immediately clear. Video from the scene showed firefighters battling heavy flames; later, much of the building appeared charred beyond recognition.
Fire marshals with the department determined the cause of the early morning fire was accidental. The fire started when power strips and extension cords were overloaded, the department tweeted later in the afternoon.