It seems as if it’s an everyday occurrence now where apartment residents in New York are injured, displaced, or even lose their lives due to a building fire. The most recent incident occurred at a three-story home in Brooklyn on Wednesday just after midnight in the Cypress Hills neighborhood on Vermont Street.
An explosion, which was caught on camera, according to the New York Times (NYT), caused the fire in the building and rocked the neighboring apartments. Firefighters were summoned to the scene where they found heavy flames in the basement, on the first and second floors of the building as well as in neighboring buildings. “We had to do searches, evacuate those buildings, and extinguish the heavy volume of fire,” Patrick Sheridan, deputy chief of the New York Fire Department, said in a statement, according to the NYT. A couple of the injured individuals were taken to the hospital while others were either treated on the scene by emergency medical technicians or refused treatment.
Although one of the building’s owners in an interview claimed he had no idea how the fire was caused and had no knowledge of any reports of gas odors, a neighbor in an adjacent apartment building said he advised his superintendent and landlord that he smelled gas earlier in the day. When the neighbor threatened to call the police, looking for the issue to be resolved, he was told it was fixed. Later that night he was awakened by his screaming children and the sight of flames coming from the neighboring apartment. He and his family are now displaced and living at a hotel.
In total about 54 people have been displaced and relocated while the damage to the apartments is being assessed.
State Senator Julia Salazar, who represents the area and happens to live on Vermont Street, said it was “pretty concerning” that neighbors reported smelling gas before the explosion occurred.
Investigators say a faulty boiler connected to a gas line appears to have caused the explosion, but the investigation is ongoing.