20 displaced by Bronx fire

May 3, 2008 8:20:27 AM PDT
A fast-moving fire tore through a row of buildings in the Bronx Friday.Now, five buildings are destroyed and several families are left looking for somewhere to live.

There are also questions about how the fire started.

The blaze broke out at East 180th Street and Washington Avenue in the Tremont section.

Eyewitness News reporter Jeff Pegues has the story.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Many residents say they have no doubt that the fire was suspicious. They say they saw a young boy racing away on a bike just before the fire started.

Amateur video captured the smoke and flames early on.

"It's a lot of flames," witness Alex Bauza said. "It was burning pretty good.''

The fire burned two homes, then spread to three more.

"The flames were so intense, I was in the grocery store, and I could feel the heat all the way over there," witness Jose Baptista said.

The heat and the wind were factors for firefighters. More than 100 of them were called in to fight the flames and smoke.

It took several hours before the fire was under control.

Just as they were getting the original fire under control, another one sparked up. Embers blown to another structure forced firefighters to battle the blaze on two fronts.

"We had just a minor fire on the roof of the building," FDNY assistant chief Edward Baggot said. "It was quickly extinguished."

Three of the five houses were vacant. Two were not.

"The Lord will provide for me, I'm sure," displaced resident Amy Williams said.

Residents will be looking for shelter and a way to move beyond what they have lost.

"It doesn't feel good," displaced resident Julio Cruz said. "It doesn't feel good at all.''

The good news is that no one was injured. Five firefighters suffered minor injuries. Twenty people have been displaced, including seven children.