Hundreds of trained pet pigeons were killed in a roaring inferno that ripped through a Brooklyn block and injured nearly a dozen people, witnesses say.
The coop of pigeons atop an apartment building on DeKalb Avenue was torched in the blaze Tuesday night that also heavily damaged or destroyed four other buildings. Witnesses said all of the birds housed in the coop perished in the fire.
Maribel Mendoza, a woman who lives in the neighborhood, told NBC 4 New York the man who owned the pigeons lived in one of the buildings that was destroyed.
"They used to be flying around," she said. "He would let them out and flag them, and they'd fly around."
Some people in the neighborhood took to social media to lament the loss of the birds, which could be seen flying through the neighborhood regularly.
"RIP #bushwick pigeons. These two coops went up in the fire tonight. Watching you guys fly was a neighborhood joy," tweeted @4rilla.
The deaths of the pigeons was first reported by the New York Post.
Authorities were investigating the cause of the blaze, which took more than 200 firefighters to get under control.
Three of the buildings were gutted by the blaze, and the other two that caught fire likely will have to be demolished. Two ground-floor businesses and a small church were destroyed.
The Red Cross said more than 31 families were forced out of their homes by the fire.
Eleven people were injured, although seven refused medical attention, officials said. The remaining four people were taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. One suffered serious injuries and the remaining three, including a firefighter, had minor injuries.