5-alarm fire burns through commercial building in Brooklyn

BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A five-alarm fire is burning through a building in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The fire broke out before 4 a.m. inside the commercial building apparently used for an import/export business on Vernon Avenue.

Flames could be seen breaking through the roof of the building

Buses were brought in to help warm some 200 firefighters as they took turns fighting the fire.

Firefighters were initially fighting the blaze from inside the building but then had to back out due to the intensity.

There was so much smoke, some residents thought their building across the street was on fire.

"We got up and opened the door to our building and the whole stairwell was filled with smoke," said Chase Riley, a neighbor. "We could hardly breathe."
"It is so cold, my hands might be frostbitten, I definitely didn't grab the warmest things to prepare to run outside and my dog is screaming because he is cold also," said Hannah Abrams, a neighbor.

Water used to fight the fire froze as soon as it hit the ground.

"The weather condition, it's very cold, it is very challenging conditions for our firefighters, however, we are very well prepared for these conditions," said Acting Chief of Departments John Sudnik, FDNY.

There were no reports of injuries.

The FDNY called the scene a team effort between multiple agencies. The Department of Sanitation salted the roads due to all of the ice created from putting water on the fire. The NYPD provided traffic control and security. The DEP made sure that there was a sufficient water supply available to firefighters. The Department of Buildings was also on the scene and says the building will have to be demolished.

"The entire building is in very poor condition, the roof collapsed, the rear wall collapsed, there's a partial collapse of the front wall," Chief Sudnik said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Firefighters are expected to remain on the scene for most of the day Thursday.

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