FIRE MARSHALS DETERMINE CAUSES OF SEVERAL MAJOR FIRES FROM THE NIGHT OF SUPER STORM SANDY - INCLUDING
BREEZY POINT FIRE WHICH DESTROYED 126 HOMES
Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today announced that Fire Marshals have determined the causes of several major fires that occurred during Super Storm Sandy, including the sixth-alarm fire in Breezy Point, Queens, which began when rising sea water came in contact with the electrical system of a home at 173 Ocean Avenue.
“Super Storm Sandy created challenges for the Department on every level, from our fire suppression and rescue efforts that night to the painstaking investigative work that followed,” said Commissioner Cassano. “A total of 21 serious fires occurred during the storm, destroying more than 200 homes and businesses across the city, and Fire Marshals have determined that most were sparked by sea water impacting electrical systems and components in and around these structures.”
BREEZY POINT FIRE
- At approximately 8:30 p.m. on Monday, October 29, several eyewitnesses reported seeing a fire burning inside a 1-story home at 173 Ocean Avenue in Breezy Point, Queens. FDNY units were unable to access the area due to the severe flooding conditions from the storm surge, which allowed the fire to burn for several hours. Fueled by hurricane-force winds, the fire quickly spread from home to home. By the time the fire was brought under control at about 6:30 a.m. the following morning, 126 homes had been completely destroyed and 22 additional homes were damaged.
ROCKAWAY BEACH FIRES
- 113-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens: Fire Marshals determined the fire started when utility wires fell onto the location, a 3-story commercial and residential structure, during the storm. The fire then extended to 16 additional structures, completely destroying all of them. FDNY units were unable to access the area for several hours due to the severe flooding conditions from the storm surge
- 239 Beach 129 Street, Queens: Fire Marshals determined the fire started in the eaves of the 2-story home, where utility wires had been compromised by the storm. The fire then extended to 31 additional structures, completely destroying all of them. FDNY units were unable to access the area for several hours due to the severe flooding conditions from the storm surge
CITY ISLAND 3RD ALARM
- 1 City Island Avenue, Bronx: Fire Marshals determined the fire started when overhead utility wires were knocked down onto the 1-story restaurant during the storm.
In addition to the 21 serious fires that occurred during the storm, Fire Marshals determined that another 73 structural fires have occurred in the city that have been determined to be store-related (for a total of 94 storm-related fires). Fire Marshals have determined 68 of those fires were electrical in nature; six were caused by generators, and 20 were the result of an open flame (e.g., candles, stove top, etc.).
About the FDNY Bureau of Fire Investigation:
Since the Department’s creation in 1865, Fire Marshals have worked continuously to fulfill their mission to investigate the cause and origin of all fatal, suspicious and large-scale fires in New York City. FDNY Fire Marshals are all fully trained firefighters who, upon promotion to Fire Marshal have full police powers and receive 13 weeks of training in highly technical areas of fire investigation and criminal justice.. Each year, Fire Marshals investigate thousands of fires and arrest hundreds of individuals for crimes including arson, sale and possession of fireworks and auto fraud. Fire Marshals also run a Juvenile Fire Setters Intervention Program which offers education and evaluations for children who are engaging in fire play.
Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Frank Dwyer, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056