Multi-alarm fire ravages home on Staten Island; 22 firefighters hurt, including 3 seriously

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Saturday, February 18, 2023
22 firefighters hurt, 3 seriously, in Staten Island house fire
Morgan Norwood has the latest on a house fire on Staten Island that left 22 firefighters injured, including three who suffered serious injuries.

ARDEN HEIGHTS, Staten Island (WABC) -- The FDNY says a total of 22 firefighters were injured, three of them seriously, after part of a burning home collapsed on Staten Island.

The fire broke out at 1:26 p.m. Friday at a home on Shotwell Avenue in the Arden Heights section.

Video from the Citizen app showed columns of thick, black smoke rising from the area.

Vincent Pelezzi was greeted by the fire as he drove up to his home. His son was inside when the raging fire broke out.

They got out and firefighters arrived within five minutes and found heavy fire in the rear of 88 and 84 Shotwell Avenue. The blaze quickly went to four alarms.

Crews ran into the home to battle the blaze from inside when the roof in the back of the house collapsed, sending debris onto them.

The wind also played a factor in the blaze, blowing the fire intensely into the building right at the firefighters.

Two became trapped. One jumped from the second-floor balcony. The other, a lieutenant, had to be rescued.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens said the third was possibly hit in the head by falling plaster, which knocked off his face mask causing the firefighter to take in a good amount of smoke.

All firefighters were pulled out and accounted for, but nearly two dozen sustained injuries.

"I heard there was some injuries and I feel horrible about it," Pelezzi said. "Kind of in shock right now."

In all, 22 firefighters were hurt. Three were pulled out in critical condition and were taken to Staten Island University Hospital North.

They remain in critical condition but are stable, and are expected to survive, FDNY officials said during an update at the hospital.

"We could have lost three members today, but it was thanks to the brave work of our members, including those who went in and saved their fellow firefighters, rescued the trapped members, brought them to EMS on scene, who treated them immediately and brought them to this hospital, which treated them right away, which is why we are able to say that they are stable while critical," FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said.

FDNY officials said that 22 firefighters were injured, including three seriously, during a fire on Staten Island, but all of them are expected to survive.

Nineteen other firefighters were are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The fire was declared under control around 2:30 p.m., but hot spots remained in the collapsed debris.

Authorities are still working to determine what caused the fire.

Department of Building inspectors and forensic engineers were called to the scene and found that 88 Shotwell Avenue sustained severe fire damage throughout, including a partial collapse of the roof, and the full collapse of an extension that had been constructed in the back of the building.

They determined that the collapsed rear extension had been constructed without required DOB permits.

They say the fire also spread to the neighboring property at 84 Shotwell Avenue, where inspectors found extensive fire damage at the rear of the building and the roof.

Neighboring properties at 92 and 80 Shotwell Avenue also suffered moderate damage due to the fire.

Full vacate orders have been issued to the heavily damaged buildings at 88 and 84 Shotwell Avenue.

The Red Cross is helping assist the families who are now without homes.

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