Red Cross Brooklyn fire displaces residents; Possibly caused by lightning

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Dray Clark reports on the displaced residents from East Flatbush (WABC)

Red Cross teams continue to help residents of 71 apartments who were forced to evacuate their homes after they caught fire Friday.

The four-alarm fire broke out on the roof of the apartment building at 214 Rockaway Parkway around 1:11 a.m. It may have been sparked by a lightning strike to the Brooklyn building.

Flames spread through multiple apartments on the top floor of the six-story building.

Residents of the building's 71 apartments were left temporarily homeless. They were allowed to briefly collect belongings.

Three firefighters were being treated for minor injuries.

No residents were hurt, and assistant FDNY Chief Ronald Spadafora said, "at a major fire, it's very unique not to have any civilians with any type of injuries."

The Red Cross operated a shelter at M.S. 366 on East 107th Street where staff provided meals, support and a place to sleep. On Saturday, there was a service center at the school and caseworkers to help the families. The group will continue to assist as needed.

Fire officials were looking into lightning in the area at the time of the fire as a possible cause. Six apartments were severely damaged by the blaze.

"The fire went to a fourth alarm and it took us about an hour and 40 minutes to get the fire under control," said Spadafora.

Firefighters rushed people out of the building, banging on doors and yelling for residents to get up and get out fast.

"Where are we going to be tonight? We're out here and were not getting any answers of where we going to stay, where we gonna go," said resident Tashell Alexander.

As crews started the cleanup outside, residents inside were given five minutes to grab what they could in their apartments.

The city decided all units would have to be evacuated as a precaution, and about 150 residents were taken to the Red Cross shelter.

Leroy Peters says his family's apartment on the fifth floor is badly damaged.

"As as you go into my house, the floor is damaged. The wall is broken, all you can see is the boards and wires," said Peters.

City inspectors will have to look at the building to insure it's safe. Residents say they don't want to go back until they know for sure everything is OK.
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apartment firefireamerican red crossEast FlatbushNew York City
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