2001-01-13 / Front Page

Cops, Firefights Rescue Far Rock Families

Cops, Firefights Rescue Far Rock Families


Police Officer O’Brien, Sgt. Scanlon, PO Rippe, and PO Williams were involved with the rescue at 16 Gadell Place.
Police Officer O’Brien, Sgt. Scanlon, PO Rippe, and PO Williams were involved with the rescue at 16 Gadell Place.

Blaze Tears Through Apartment Building

By Joan Ward George

Cops from the 101 Precinct and firefighters from Rockaway, Howard Beach and Ozone Park responded to a two alarm fire call at 16 Gadell Place, Far Rockaway, at 10:50 p.m. last Friday night. What they found upon arriving was a multi-story brick dwelling packed with families desperately trying to escape from the building. There were residents hanging out of their windows and others scrambling to try to get down the fire escapes as the upper levels of the building burned.

According to Deputy Inspector Gary Scirica, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct, it was just about "change of shift" time and, in as much as the precinct is located so close to the building that was afire, approximately 20 police officers found themselves in the position of aiding the building’s residents down fire escapes, passing babies down the lines of people trying to get out of the building, and opening up the muster room of the precinct as a temporary shelter for these fire victims who had no place else to go during the frigid evening hours. Scirica called in the Red Cross to assist, but for a short time the 101 Precinct served as a safe haven for the families affected by the fire.


Pictured is a bedroom in 16 Gadell Place destroyed by the fire that tore through the building. 
Pictured is a bedroom in 16 Gadell Place destroyed by the fire that tore through the building.

"The police worked hand in hand with the firefighters," said Scirica. "It was really a great thing to see, and there were no injuries."

The fire was eventually brought under control by members of the FDNY, under the supervision of Chief Esposito, battalion chief.

All occupants were relocated with family and friends and there were no injuries reported for civilians, police officers, or fire department personnel.

The fire, which is thought to have started in one of the apartment’s dumb-waiter shafts, is under investigation by NYFD’s Fire Marshal McGrorty.


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