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Press Releases / 2005 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 27, 2005


The Fire Department launched a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the fatal fire that occurred in Apartment 2N at 104 Ross Street in Brooklyn the morning of April 25. The Department has conclusively determined the following information:

Fire Investigation

  • FDNY Fire Marshals have determined the cause of the fire to be accidental – caused by heat from an open flame on the gas stove located in the kitchen. According to eyewitness accounts, the contents of the kitchen including countertops and cabinets were covered in aluminum foil. Due to prolonged exposure to heat emanating from the stove, the aluminum foil acted as a conductor – transferring the heat to these items and ultimately, setting them ablaze.
  • Fire Marshals also interviewed an eyewitness who states that she worked in a neighboring apartment as a home health aide. On the evening of April 24, at the request of an occupant in Apartment 2N, she was instructed to turn one burner off and leave one on. Fire Marshals investigating the fire scene also confirm that a burner on the gas stove was switched into the “on” position.
  • The smoke detector in the apartment was present, but not working. Fire Marshals have determined that the battery in the smoke detector was dead. Interviews with various eyewitnesses also support that the smoke detector was not functioning.

FDNY Response

  • The Fire Department received a call for a reported fire at 104 Ross Street from the Fire Dispatcher at 5:52 a.m. Within 3 minutes and 50 seconds, 20 firefighters were at the scene (two engine companies and two ladder companies).
  • At 6:01 a.m., firefighters from Ladder Company 119 located and removed the first victim. At 6:02 a.m., the second victim was found and removed. At 6:08 a.m., the third victim was removed.
  • Fire Department members responding to this fire were given building information commonly known as CIDS (Critical Information Dispatch System). CIDS provides information on building entryway and design and other atypical or unique features of a specific location. The responding fire companies knew to access 104 Ross Street via Williamsburg Street (west) thus leading them into the building’s courtyard. Firefighters encountered a lock on the courtyard gate, which they promptly cut – incurring no significant delay in response. There were also no delays in locating the three hydrants positioned immediately off of that access road.
  • Fire Department members from surrounding companies were very familiar with this building complex and its layout. From January 1, 2005 to April 22, 2005 the Department responded to more than 50 calls in the Bedford Gardens complex. Specifically to 104 Ross Street, the Department was called to that address three times since the start of the year.

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon and Virginia Lam (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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