Raging Brush Fire Threatens BC, A-Line
By Howard Schwach
A raging brush fire swept through the marshlands at Gateway National Park on Cross Bay Boulevard Wednesday night, threatening homes in Broad Channel and service on the A Subway line, as well as birds and vegetation at the world-renowned Gateway Bird Sanctuary.
Dozens of fire units and hundreds of city and volunteer firefighters waged a four-hour battle against the fire, attempting to keep it away from homes and from the subway line.
Helicopters from the New York Police Department scooped up water from Jamaica Bay in large buckets and dropped the water on the fire.
Thick black smoke from the fire could be seen all over Rockaway and many old-timers likened the scene to the aircraft crash in the marshes nearby JFK airport more than 20 years ago.
The scene after dark on Cross Bay Boulevard was reminiscent of that crash as well.
25 FDNY fire units from Queens and Brooklyn, as well as units from the Broad Channel Volunteers, the Hamilton Beach Volunteers and other volie units lined the boulevard with the hoses from their apparatus snaking onto the bird sanctuary on the northbound side of the road. Traffic was reduced to one lane in the northbound direction for much of the distance between Broad Channel and the Joseph P. Addabbo Bridge.
The fire, which, according to fire department records began at 4:36 p.m., was considered officially under control at 10:25 p.m.
According to the Transit Authority, the fire slowed down service on the A Line, but it was never disrupted.
No homes in Broad Channel were involved in the fire.