STATEMENT FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT REGARDING
THE FATAL FIRE AT 104 ROSS STREET, BROOKLYN
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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