Easter Fire Destroys Three Flatbush Homes


FLATBUSH – Two elderly neighbors were treated for smoke inhalation after an all-hands fire ripped through one home, causing damage to two other attached houses on Rogers Avenue in Flatbush on Easter Sunday evening, fire officials said.

A fire damaged three houses on Rogers Avenue. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

The two people injured were apparently elderly who family members carried down from their second-floor residence, as smoke enveloped their home. They were not considered life-threatening injuries, though both were said to suffer from asthma.

The fire broke out shortly before 6 p.m. in the second-floor kitchen of 1254 Rogers Avenue near Foster Avenue. Fire officials said the fire was located in a closet of the kitchen and quickly spread into pipe recesses into the cockloft towards the roof.

Martha Lerger, 84, in a blue blanket, sits with asthma sprayer with other family members during the fire. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

“I smelled the smoke and I knew there was a fire in our home,” said 84-year-old Martha Lerger, while sitting next to her ‘baby’ sister Claudette, age 78. “Thank God my cousins were there with us, they carried us down the stairs. I don’t know why this happened.”

Firefighters were forced to break open the roof to get at quickly spreading flames that then entered adjoining homes on either side of the house. Windows were smashed and ceilings had to be pulled down to stop the fire from spreading further. But by then, the home suffered heavy damage to the kitchen and through the roof, and the other two homes suffered smoke, water, and other damage.

Firefighters work to put out the fire in Rogers Avenue home. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

The two elderly women were taken to the hospital for observation because of their asthma conditions irritated by the smoke from the fire.

At least two families were left homeless at this time.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, fire officials said, but electrical issues may have been a factor.

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Todd Maisel
Todd Maisel is an award-winning photographer with more than 35-years, specializing in breaking news. He currently serves as vice president of the New York Press Photographers. He was honored by the National Press Photographers Association and the Uniform Firefighters Association for saving the life of a firefighter he found in debris after the collapse of the World Trade Center, assisting in the rescue of an injured photographer, and for extensive coverage of the attack. Maisel is a graduate of NYU School of Journalism.
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