A five-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in Elmhurt last night. According to the Daily News, fire "raged for three hours" and displaced 100 families. A resident says the fire was started by a space heater—and the FDNY says the aftereffects of the blizzard delayed their response.
Cars left abandoned in streets caused trouble for fire crews to reach the building on Judge Street—and then other abandoned vehicles made it difficult for the firefighters to set up their equipment. The FDNY said those factors could have delayed response by 15 minutes. Fire Chief Joseph Carlsen said, "Eventually we got our units into place, but it did hamper our operation a bit." Fire and EMS sources have complained that the city should have called a snow emergency so they would be able to respond to 911 calls in a timely fashion (versus having non-essential vehicles on the road).
Four firefighters and three civilians had minor injuries. The displaced families are being sheltered at a local public school.