Massive Fire Destroys East Williamsburg Building

FDNY respond to the call at 6:12 pm / FDNY’s Instagram.

Last night, FDNY worked for almost four hours to extinguish a five-alarm fire in East Williamsburg. 

It is under investigation what exactly started the fire that started on the top floor of 244 Montrose Ave, a three story apartment building between Montrose and Bushwick Ave. 

The call came in at 6:12 pm, and approximately 50 FDNY and EMS units and 200 firefighters and EMS personnel responded to the scene, said John Sudnik, FDNY’s Chief of Department.

The video shows multiple firefighters on ladders working to fire out as the fire engulfs the top of the building. 

“Our units got here in two minutes,” Sudnik said, adding that the firefighters found “a heavy fire condition, an advanced fire on the second floor.”

Firefighters at the scene of fire /FDNY’s Instagram.

As firefighters worked to extinguish the fire, they found that it was too advanced to put out because it extended to the third floor and roof, the rear wall of the building collapsed, and they had to retreat for fear that the building would collapse. 

The fire then jumped to the two buildings on either side of 244 Montrose, before being placed under control at 10:02 pm. 

There were no reported civilian injuries at the time of the Instagram post, and four firefighters were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. 

The Red Cross responded to the disaster, and five families have been moved to hotels, according to a Red Cross spokesperson.

The fire was extinguished at 10:02 pm /FDNY’s Instagram.

Today, two different GoFundMe pages were set up to try to raise money for the residents of 244 Montrose Ave.

“I’m the first-floor tenant of 244 Montrose Ave,” said Ray Francessko Abarjel in his GoFundMe post.

“EVERYTHING perished. I have some clothes, my phone, and that’s it.”

The apartment was Abarjel’s main source of income because he had listed his two extra rooms on Airbnb.

“I invested all I got in that apartment. My personal belongings, clothes, and about $25K worth of goods, electronics, etc.”
Abarjel said that he deals with medical issues, and although he gets some help from the Department of Veteran Affairs, he is physically unable to work.

Top floor resident, Jonathan Rodriguez, set up his GoFundMe page for himself and his family.

“The fire spiraled out of control, reaching my apartment. Not only has this fire completely destroyed my apartment and my family’s belongings, but it has now placed us on the streets during this pandemic.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, said the FDNY.

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Anna Conkling

Anna Conkling is a reporter at Bklyner. She is a senior at The New School majoring in Journalism and Design.

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