At least two people died as a fast-moving fire set five private dwellings ablaze Friday afternoon in Queens, in blaze that had firefighters working quickly to get control of to prevent the flames from threatening even more nearby homes.
The fire prompted a 5-alarm response from the FDNY, who responded to the Ozone Park structures on 125th Street around 2:30 p.m. The initial fire spread due to the strong winds, damaging at least four neighboring structures within a couple hours.
Police confirmed that at least two people died in the inferno, but said that number could go up. Construction crews were being brought in to knock in the building to see if there were possibly any additional victims killed.
The ages of the two known victims who died were not immediately known. Their bodies were found hours later in a basement apartment of the home where the fire started.
Five firefighters were suffered minor injuries, officials said, and are expected to recover. More than 200 firefighters responded to the scene.
Winds whipping through the area were proving a difficult challenge for crews trying to get a control of the fire. It also prevented them from going inside to do a thorough search for some time.
The strong gusts helped push the fire even to homes across the street, according to FDNY acting Chief of Department John Hodgens.
The Department of Buildings said that the building where the fire originated had a roof collapse and a rear section collapse due to the flames. There were also partial roof collapses at two other buildings, and damage from the fire at two more as well.
The American Red Cross said it was providing assistance to nine families impacted by the blaze, including 29 adults and 13 children.