DITMAS PARK – A 3-alarm fire raced through the top floor and roof of a six-story apartment building on East 18th Street in Ditmas Park this morning, destroying much of the top floor apartments and making the building uninhabitable, officials said.
Fire officials said three people were reported injured including one civilian for shortness of breath and two firefighters who were hurt inside a burning apartment in which the ceiling collapsed. None of the injuries were life-threatening, EMS officials said.
This was the second fire that firefighters put out in the building, the first at about 8:30 a.m. in a top floor apartment where an electrical fire was reported.
The fire started shortly after 11 a.m. at 180 East 18th Street near Albermarle Road. First arriving units reported heavy smoke pouring from the top floor of the sixth story building and a second alarm was quickly called when it was discovered that the fire had spread into the cockloft, the space between the apartment and the roof.
Firefighters on the roof of the building found heavy smoke billowing from vents and began opening the roof, where they found heavy fire blowing into the air. Numerous firefighters began tearing up the roof and found more fire spreading through the crawl space of the cockloft.
The fire was brought under control at 12:44 p.m., but by then, most of the top floor apartments on the south side of the building were destroyed or heavily damaged.
Eva Foster, a resident of the sixth floor, said firefighters had already put out a fire she said was caused by an electrical problem.
“The lights were flickering this morning and we had told the landlord in the past that there was some sort of problems,” she said. “The firemen came and put the fire out, but then, at about 11 o’clock, we smelled the smoke again in the ceiling.”
Scores of residents would need to be relocated, officials from the Red Cross said at the scene.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known, and fire officials said it was under investigation by fire marshals.