Fire Department New York (FDNY) firefighters were called to a four-alarm fire at an apartment building in the Bronx. The apartment located at Ogden Avenue and West 161st Street was ablaze, and flames were seen shooting from the top floors when the FDNY arrived. The fire eventually spread to an adjacent building.
According to recent reports, the late-night fire broke out on the fifth floor of a six-floor building in the Highbridge section of the Bronx late night on July 25, 2019. The injuries sustained were not life threatening, but residents were left shaken and homeless. Among those injured included six FDNY firefighters. One resident did sustain a serious injury during the blaze.
Residents Report No Fire Alarms Went Off
Most alarming was the lack of an alarm. According to CBSNewYork, one resident stated, “We were woke up by, pretty much, screaming people. They were knocking at our window. No smoke alarm had gone off. But the minute I opened the front door, the hallways were engulfed in flames.”
Several residents reported to ABCs Eyewitness News that no smoke alarm went off. However, no human deaths have been reported and the fire was put out by the early morning. The lack of a smoke alarm going off left many of the residents on the fifth and sixth floors forced to escape out of windows.
Reports state that some residents were forced to use the fire escape to climb down to safety. “We had several civilians evacuating onto the fire escapes, some threatening to jump, but no civilians jumped,” Paul Miller, Chief of FDNY’s Batallion 17 stated.
Displaced Residents Helped
Currently, the Red Cross is assisting 18 residents with temporary housing. However, many residents are unable to go back into their homes to retrieve any personal items due to the severe damage from the fire. One resident even reported that the condition of his dog and cat are unknown.
Eric Soto, a resident of the apartment building told ABCs Eyewitness news, “They’re (Soto’s dog and cat) not here, they were running out of the apartment. I ran out, I don’t know where they’re at so…And you know what? We’re homeless.”
Taking Legal Action
Residents have begun seeking legal advice from the experienced personal injury attorneys Michael Ronemus & Robert Vilensky at Ronemus & Vilensky Law Firm. With the lack of any alarm notifying residents of the eminent threat of fire, residents are relieved to still be alive.
However, the physical and emotional trauma sustained from the fire, along with loss of irreplaceable pets have left many residents with unseen scars that will take a long time to heal. Many of the residents and their attorneys only want to ensure that wherever they end up living, they will feel safe from the threat of fire.
In addition, with the help of New York-area personal injury law firm Ronemus & Vilensky, all apartment dwellers want others to be aware that just because a smoke alarm is seen does not necessarily mean that it is in good working condition.
There are still many questions left to answer, especially pertaining to the apparently non-working smoke alarms. Currently, the cause of the fire is under investigation.