Suspicious Brownsville Blaze Guts Apartment

Sebastian the parrot is a bit jittery after the fire. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

BROWNSVILLE – Residents of a Brownsville building fled from their homes when a fire ripped through a fifth-floor apartment, fire blowing out several windows when firefighters arrived, fire officials said.

An all hands fire ripped through a fifth floor apartment at 1920 Union Street off Ralph Avenue in Brownsville Brooklyn this morning.

No injuries were reported, though two children were checked for smoke inhalation, but did not require a hospital visit, officials said.

The fire broke out shortly before 11 a.m. in a six-story multiple family apartment building at 1920 Union Street off Ralph Avenue. Firefighters arrived and found fire roaring from two windows of the building and residents running into the street.

Firefighter Pat Coraggio carries out 6-year-old Bruno after the fire because he and his sister were barefoot. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

An all-hands response brought in 50 firefighters who attacked the flames from the inside and from a tower-ladder outside on the street.

Brianna Santacruz, 13, was in her fourth-floor apartment, just below the fire, with her siblings and grandmother when the fire broke out.

Brianna Santacruz holds her parrot Sebastian after the fire. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

“I thought it was just a little fire – didn’t think that big,” Santacruz said she held her parrot Sebastian that she received for her birthday. “My neighbor said it was big, so we all ran out – I was a little nervous.”

Neighbors watched as fire ripped through a fifth-floor apartment at 1920 Union Street off Ralph Avenue in Brownsville Brooklyn this morning.

The fire was brought under control in a half an hour, but by then the apartment was destroyed and smoke had filled the building. Residents and neighbors stood outside in the summer-like heat, waiting to re-enter the building.

A firefighter checks his mask after using it in the fire on Union Street. Todd Maisel/Bklyner

The fire was considered suspicious because there was no established caused of the fire. Fire marshals will investigate the cause of the fire.

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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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