[Update 1/16 3pm: Neighbors launched a GoFundMe page for the victims of this fire. Donate here.]
A roaring blaze tore through a century-old apartment building on Ocean Parkway in Kensington last night, gutting four apartments and injuring two or three tenants in its wake.
The fire sparked just before 6pm on Tuesday, January 3, in a second-floor apartment at 175 Ocean Parkway near Albemarle Road, said FDNY. One commenter on a closed Facebook group described the flames as “leaping 20-30 feet out of a 2nd story window.”
Firefighters had the blaze under control just after 6:40pm. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Two people were taken to the hospital with serious but not critical injuries, said FDNY via the NY Daily News. “The FDNY were absolutely amazing tonight, I can’t believe they did what they did so quickly,” wrote one building resident.
The fire ripped through second, third and fourth-floor apartments on the building’s southern side, facing Ocean Parkway. But water damage caused the ceiling to collapse in the ground floor apartment as well, said neighbors.
“We got out just in time,” said one distraught tenant the next morning. She and her neighbors stood on the sidewalk last night, in the cold rain, watching the blaze. “Everyone was out, many people were crying.”
“The whole first floor is gone. Water damage, flooded,” she said, while clean-up crews guttered her apartment to check for asbestos. “The building is one hundred years old at least. If there’s asbestos they can’t even fix it right away. If it is, it’s a crime,” she said, concerned about finding housing in the interim.
“It was cold, it was drizzling, it was something I hope I will never have to experience again,” said another tenant this morning, describing the scene on the street last night.
“The guy upstairs was furious, just furious. You can think, just after the holidays, people are enjoying their gifts — then you lose everything,” she said ruefully.
One emergency clean-up worker in the lobby shook his head and grimaced. “It’s terrible in there. In some of the apartments, it’s really bad,” he said.
Neighbors expressed an outpouring of support on a local Facebook group, with past and present residents offering to collect clothing and find shelter for displaced residents. People have offered to organize a GoFundMe page, and we continue to update with more information.