20 firefighters injured in White Plains fire

July 7, 2010 8:14:23 PM PDT
A fire that started in an Indian restaurant spread to neighboring stores in the business district of downtown White Plains.

Firefighters in heavy gear confronted the searing flames around 3:00 Wednesday afternoon.

Huge clouds of smoke soon spread over the business area, and could be seen for miles.

Like the oppressively hot temperatures, the number of injured kept rising. The injured were mostly firefighters overcome by the heat.

One after the other, they were wheeled away from a fire that just wouldn't die down.

Twenty firefighters had to be treated for heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation, heat exhaustion and heart palpitations.

The injuries complicated efforts to fight the fire because they did not have enough manpower.

The city's public safety commissioner, David Chong, said every piece of fire apparatus in the city was being used and off-duty firefighters were being called back to work.

The city laid off nine firefighters two months ago because of budget cuts.

The fire started in the basement of a well-known restaurant here. For 35 years the Bengal Tiger has been a city mainstay. On this day, it was reduced to rubble.

Authorities said the roof of the restaurant had collapsed around 5:30 p.m.

The fire also spread to other businesses. Six in all have been destroyed despite the work of dozens of firefighters from other Westchester communities who were called in to help.

On this night, residents looked down on the damage from a nearby parking garage. Shortly before sunset, the fire was still burning and smoke was still eating away at a business that had been in this community for decades.

The fire was declared under control at 9:00 p.m. Officials said a half-block was destroyed.