Illegal fireworks may have caused massive Brooklyn apartment fire

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A family in Brooklyn is grateful to be alive after they lost everything in an early morning fire Monday.

What was once a cheerful, Coney Island apartment, full of family memories and a glorious ocean view, is now full of ashes.

Svetlana Volodarsky celebrated July 4th with loved ones and went to bed that night, never imagining that in a few hours, they would be running for their lives.

"Suddenly I hear a bunch of cracking noises coming from the window," Veronica Drikman said.

Eleven-year-old Drikman is being hailed a hero for saving her family.

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A few hours after the blast, the city announced that the day's fireworks shows in multiple locations had been canceled out of an abundance of caution.



"A whole explosion happens. Then I see the blinds start burning. Ripping really fast. I started screaming and running out of my room," Drikman said.

"She's amazing that she didn't just freeze," Drikman's mother, Volodarksy said.

Fire officials suspect illegal fireworks may have landed on their 14th floor balcony at the O'Dwyer Gardens housing development, setting off the devastating blaze.

The family escaped barefoot and in their pajamas. Their precious cat Mickey did not make it.

"We lost a family member. You're sleeping in the middle of the night and your whole life goes to shambles," Volodarsky said.

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The family is now staying with the grandfather in his one-bedroom apartment. They have no idea where they'll go next.

"Everything is gone. All the memories," 13-year-old Ashton Drikman said.

Volodarsky, originally from Ukraine, served 10 years in the U.S. Navy. She is hoping NYCHA will be able to find another home for them.


A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the family.

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