Monday morning before the break of dawn, tragedy blazed through a Brooklyn apartment complex.
It all began when the police responded to a call about an explosion. Upon arriving at the scene they realized it was a fire and needed firefighters, fast. The situation escalated to a five alarm status as the fire engulfed the apartment building and spread to a smaller building in the back.
The Williamsburg building was a four-story structure with a wood frame and it didn’t take long for the flames to grow and spread. According to Deputy Police Chief Patrick Clifford, the firemen inside the building were ordered to flee the building. He said:
“It started coming out the windows and we pulled them out. The risk-reward wasn’t there. It is not a good feeling. When you know that she’s in there, and then you see the place engulfed in fire. It’s disheartening.”
The fire began at 1:30 a.m. on Monday at 30 Richardson Street. It took 198 firemen about 3 hours to get everything under control. They even called for more manpower to relieve the men and women who were working through the night.
Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Clifford said that at its worst, flames were licking as high as 30 feet in the air. He said:
“It’s exhausting; there was a large amount of fire in the rear when we got (there) already, so we were playing catch-up. It (was) a race against time. It (was) a wood-frame building, so it’s a losing proposition
Of course with such an intense situation, injury is more than a possibility. And unfortunately, two individuals lost their lives. One woman and one man were both lost in the fire. According to accounts given to Chief Clifford, the man was seen by other tenants of the building when everyone first exited the building and it is assumed that he must have re-entered the apartment for some reason.
It’s a tragic loss for the family of the man and woman who passed and for those who lived in the building, but without the brave firefighters on the scene, the situation could have quickly gone from bad to worse and spread to further buildings.