Firefighters brave elements to battle 3-alarm fire at 6-story building in New Rochelle

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Monday, February 14, 2022
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Firefighters were battling both intense flames and bitter cold after a fire broke out on the top floor of a six-story building in New Rochelle. Joe Torres has more.

NEW ROCHELLE, Westchester County (WABC) -- Firefighters were battling both intense flames and bitterly cold conditions after a three-alarm fire broke out on the top floor of a six-story building in New Rochelle.

The blaze broke out at 90 Union Street around 12:30 p.m. and quickly spread to the cockloft.

At least 20 residents were evacuated to warming centers, while firefighters dealt with ice and freezing equipment as they poured water on the fire.

"My wife was in the building, and she heard a neighbor screaming," tenant Max Gonclaves said. "And when she walked out the door, she saw a lot of smoke and she called me to say the building was on fire."

Firefighters managed to keep the flames from spreading to a neighboring six-story building.

"Once the fire gets above the top floor, there's a little space on top of the building called the cockloft," New Rochelle Fire Chief Andrew Sandor said. "The fire got up into there, and then it travels across the building. As you can see, actually, the crews made a great stop. What they do is they make what's called a trench cut, OK? They made the trench cut to stop it from going into the other wings. So we tried to save the rest of the building."

Numerous tower ladders dumped water from above, while others blasted water through blown out windows.

No injuries have been reported.

Juanita Oakes has lived in her first floor apartment for 38 years.

"Thank God everybody was safe," she said. "A couple people, we couldn't have dogs but a couple of people had cats. And the cats got in the fire."

The American Red Cross and Habitat For Humanity were on the scene to help displaced residents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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