Yesterday afternoon, a brush fire swept across the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island and became a 6-alarm blaze that spread to houses. The Staten Island Advance reports, "Giant billows of smoke...could be seen from as far away as Manhattan and New Jersey. About 250 firefighters were deployed to battle the blaze." The fire lasted for four hours.

Some residents also used their own garden hoses, "helping keep fences wet, as groups of firefighters worked furiously in the scrub behind them." One was amazed, "I've never seen anything like this. It came about 30 feet from my house. A brush fire has never come that close before." Another told the Post, "It looks like a bomb went off." The above photographs are from reader Pawel, "I took these pictures as I drove by Mill Rd on Staten Island. The long dry phragmite grass set on fire right next to the houses in the picture. It set up a huge cloud of black smoke and people flocked to the area."

One firefighter was injured (back strain) while residents are left to assess the damage. One woman, Phyllis Puglia, who had been in Brooklyn for Easter dinner when the fire broke out, told the Advance the entire back of her house was burnt, but could be thankful that neighbors broke into the house to save her three dogs—the neighbor explained, "The dogs are family."

Here are brush fire safety tips from the FDNY.