The First 2 Weeks of April 1998
April 1998 is proving to be a very hot month for NYC fire
On Friday, April 3 fire in a 1 story commercial 100 x 100
structure, located at 338 Scholes Street, required 2 alarms
to control. The incident began at 1734 hours in the
Southside section of Brooklyn. Before it was over a fire
fighter from L108 fell through the roof and suffered nonlife threatening back injuries.
Then, at the stroke of midnight, the Bensonhurst section of
Brooklyn was hit with a 4 alarm blaze that destroyed a 1
story 60 x 80 commercial garage at 1679 77 Street. This
stubborn fire took over 3 hours of "surround and drown"
treatment before being brought under control.
Early Friday, April 10 a taxpayer fire went to 3 alarms
beginning at 0100 hours in the Wakefield section of The
Bronx. Fire had gotten into the cockloft area of the 1 story
100 x 50 building. Impeding the fire fighting effort were
aerial power lines that were arcing heavily. Consolidated
Edison was called in to turn off the current from the pole.
As the fire raged on all interior efforts ceased and an
exterior attack began using 2 tower ladders, 3 hand lines
and 3 stangs. The building began to collapse about an hour
into the fire and it was brought under control at 0352
This is the first structural fifth alarm of the year and it
was a fiery blaze. As Christians around the world celebrated
the coming of Christ on Easter Sunday, April 12, Manhattan
fire fighters were working at the coming of the Red Devil.
Shortly before 1400 hours many tourists and visitors of the
South Street Seaport stared in awe as fire blew through the
windows of the top 2 floors of 136 William Street; a 6 story
20 x 75 mixed occupancy building nestled between a
commercial high-rise and a taller mixed occupancy building.
According to fire fighters on the scene this was a very
difficult fire. The narrow street combined with the narrow
building contributed by restricting access by tower ladder
at first. Most of the fire fight took place from within by
using hand lines stretched from the outside of the building
to a fourth floor window.
Over a dozen fire fighters were injured in the blaze. Most
of them were transported to the hospital with smoke
inhalation, minor burns, or exhaustion.
The fire was brought under control at 1647 hours. The
building was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
Less than an hour later, at 1726 hours, lower Manhattan
suffered another blow to it's availability when a 2 alarm
blaze broke out at 146 Forsyth Street on the Lower East
Side. The fire began on the fourth floor of a 6 story 20 x 50
multiple dwelling and extended to the sixth floor (skipping
the fifth) causing extensive damage to the rear half of the
building. The Red Cross was required to relocate scores of
There were 2 supervising dispatchers scheduled to be working
in Queens on Monday night April 13. Since Brooklyn was
short a supervisor, the extra supervisor was detailed to
As luck would have it he sat in Brooklyn most of the night,
doing absolutely nothing, and watched Queens chime in with
7 all-hands fires. His attitude: "better them than me."
The Red Devil didn't see it that way.
Exactly 36 minutes before his tour ended (0624 hours,
Tuesday the 14th) the ERS box on the corner of 4th Avenue
and 26th Street was activated; fire reported at the
Actually, there was alot of fire at the location and it was
focused on 184 26 Street in the Greenwood Heights section.
Twenty Sixth Street between 4th and 5th Avenues is lined
with fully attached 3 story frame dwellings. These buildings
are quite old. Once fire takes hold of one it's a sure thing
that it will take an exposure or two; especially if it
communicates to the cockloft.
Within minutes fire had consumed the entire 3 story 25 x 60
building and it was making quick work of exposures 4, 4A,
and 4B. There was some extension to exposure 2, but that
building was brick. It fared much better than it's
The fire went to 4 alarms at 0649 hours; 11 minutes before
the end of the night tour. By the time the under control
signal was given at 0814 hours nothing but the front wall of
the fire building remained. Exposures 4, 4A, and 4B were
heavily damaged but still standing.
By 0900 hours, when fire fighters change tours, many of the
units started coming back into service as day crews relieved
fatigued night crews. Relocated units began to make their
way home for relief. This was a fortunate event.
At 1055 hours a quick all-hands fire erupted in the East
New York section of Brooklyn at 1145 Glenmore Avenue.
Luckily it was the contents of the 3 story frame 20 x 60
dwelling that was burning and not the structure itself. The
fire was quelled with 2 hand lines and brought under control
at 1119 hours; but the Devil had already moved on to the
Flatbush section of town.
At 1118 hours a vacant 4 story brick 30 x 70 dwelling with
an occupied store on the first floor was gutted completely.
The normally congested streets of Flatbush quickly became
impassable as 12 engines, 9 ladders, and a host of special
units converged at 730 Flatbush Avenue.
This building also was fully attached to similar structures.
But being brick buildings, the fire was not able to extend
past the side walls. The difficulty in fighting this fire
was that the upper floors had been vacant and their
stability was undetermined.
Two minutes before the transmission of the 2nd alarm of the
last fire (1137 hours), another quick all-hands fire broke
out in the Glenwood housing project at 1736 Ralph Avenue in
the Flatlands section. The fire was contained to a 3rd floor
apartment of the 6 story building.
One can only wonder what the second half of the month will