At least 12 people are recovering from injuries after a massive fire burned through several businesses in Sunnyside, Queens.
The fire broke out inside one store on Queens Boulevard around 2:14 a.m. Thursday and quickly spread.
Dozens of firefighters were called to the scene as the fire grew to five alarms.
The raging flames eventually engulfed six stores, one of which partially collapsed in the back.
Firefighters dodged a frightening backdraft that ripped through one building at around 3 a.m., sending them scrambling to Queens Boulevard for safety.
One man on the scene reported seeing the fireball as firefighters attempted to get out of the building.
"I saw three firefighters just on the ground on Queens Boulevard, they flew out of the basement, and I saw one of the guys picked up his helmet and he ran back there to do his job. I was terrified," the witness said.
The head of the city council's investigations committee has requested an independent probe of the events leading up to the suspension of a top Fire Department chief accused of abusive behavior.
Councilman Ritchie Torres, (D-Bronx), sent Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett the request Tuesday, days after FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard was relieved of his command and put on desk duty. The suspension followed Daily News reports that Leonard had been accused of openly berating and humiliating subordinates, and tried to freeze out First Deputy Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, one of few women in the top ranks of the FDNY.
In announcing Leonard's suspension, the FDNY said the city's Law Department will be responsible for investigating his behavior.
New York Daily News
Several steps are being taken to address staffing in the Canandaigua Fire Department, while other suggestions to improve fire protection likely will take some time.
But a great deal of time, thought and work has been spent over the last year in studying the issue of providing fire service, Mayor Ellen Polimeni said — with some results now.
“I think there’s progress being made,” Polimeni said.
Members of City Council discussed staffing, as well as other recommendations made in a $50,000 fire service study, during a Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday night scheduled, in part, to help determine the next steps for the department.
Also firmed up somewhat is the commitment from the town of Canandaigua to help fund additional paid firefighters beyond 2019, and the opportunity to pursue grant money to bring in more staff.
Earlier this month, City Council adopted a 2019 spending plan that includes funding for two new firefighters, the $200,000 cost split evenly with the town.
Volunteer firefighter numbers are down across the nation and right here at home. It's another issue impacting local communities after learning taxpayers in three towns recently rejected plans to rebuild and renovate some local fire stations.
A new report outlines getting to the ideal status of the volunteer fire service -- including on boarding, staffing, and addressing retention and recruiting. The fire chief in Alplaus -- which is 100 percent volunteer, would love 15 or so more active members, on top of the 20 he already has.
The report from the International Fire Chiefs Association outlines goals for the future for local volunteer fire departments struggling near and far to recruit dependable members in a world where everyone is overbooked and personal schedules are just too busy.
WNYT-TV 13 Albany
Fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a warehouse in Rochester on Thursday. The fire started around 4 a.m. at the Premier Metal Group building on Cairn Street. Police received a call after someone saw smoke. Fire officials say titanium scraps were burning inside the metal warehouse. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No one was injured.
WHAM-AM 1180 Rochester
A family lost their two-story home following a late Wednesday afternoon fire in North Granville. No injuries were reported, and the cause remains under investigation.
More than a dozen Washington County fire departments responded to 10376 state Route 22 near the intersection of county Route 17 around 4 p.m. to a fully involved structure fire.
“It got a really good start,” North Granville Fire Chief Scott McCullen said.
The home was determined to be a total loss, but firefighters were able to save a home next door, he said. The neighboring structure was intact, but some of the siding was melted.
Slippery weather conditions made fighting the fire somewhat challenging, McCullen said. Tanker trucks delivered water from a quarry that McCullen said was about four miles down the road.
Glens Falls Post-Star