250 Firefighters Battle Massive Fire That Threatened Entire Staten Island Block; 12 Injured, 42 Displaced

Flames from the blaze were so intense that they melted the siding of homes across the street

Hundreds of firefighters battled a Staten Island inferno that threatened to burn down an entire block and generated such intense heat that it melted the siding of buildings across the street.

The Red Cross was assisting families affected by the blaze on Thursday night — ours after it spread from home to home, injuring a dozen people and sending smoke mushrooming into the air.

The massive fire broke out at a multifamily house on Benziger Avenue around 6 p.m. It then jumped from one attached house to the next, burning seven homes and causing two to collapse. The entire area was covered in toxic fumes and smoke.

“Very, very big smoke condition in the street,” FDNY Chief James Leonard said, adding that 250 particles of carbon monoxide were swirling in the air.

Two people in nearby homes had breathing problems. One of them was taken to a hospital in serious condition. Ten firefighters were treated for minor heat exhaustion.

The heat generated by the conflagration was intense, so intense that neighbors across the street could feel its blistering heat.

Residents were advised to close windows to avoid the noxious, thick smoke that the blaze generated.

The fire could have injured many more if not for the countless number of people who alerted neighbors of the danger. People like 8-year-old Donasha Hamilton and her cousins. They saw smoke in a house down the street and went to warn those inside.

“My cousin ran up to get them and then they came down,” Hamilton said.

Firefighters also rescued seven puppies and their mother from one of the burning buildings.

The fire was finally brought under control around 9 p.m. but not before displacing 42 residents. 

Red Cross spokesman Michael de Vulpillieres said that the organization is helping all those who were affected by the fire. It’s offering emergency housing, emotional support, health assistance, and money for food and clothing.

Jessica Macintosh is one of those people. Her home was torched in the blaze. She said she’s just happy that she made it out alive.

“I’m so thankful. I just keep thanking God that everyone is okay,” she said.

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