2004-12-17 / Front Page

Smoky Electrical Fire Disrupts Rockaway Beach

47 Battalion Chief James McGrath leads firefighters at 8800 Shore Front Parkway on Wednesday afternoon to fight a smoky electrical fire. 47 Battalion Chief James McGrath leads firefighters at 8800 Shore Front Parkway on Wednesday afternoon to fight a smoky electrical fire. An electrical fire in a transformer at 88-00 Shore Front Parkway in Rockaway Beach caused an evacuation of a number of homes and apartments between Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Shore Front Parkway, and a electrical outage that affected more than 500 customers of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).

Michael Lowndes, a spokesperson for LIPA, said that the smoky fire originated at Beach 88 Street, nearby Shore Front Parkway.

Firefighters drag a hose to the source of the fire at 88-00 Shore Front Pkwy.
Firefighters drag a hose to the source of the fire at 88-00 Shore Front Pkwy. First fire units responding found thick, black smoke poring from the Shore Front Parkway building.

Lowndes says that LIPA shut off the power to the area so that the electrical connections could be “de-energized” and firefighters could put out the fire.

All told, Lowndes said, 530 customers were without power for approximately two and a half hours and many traffic lights in the area, both on Shore Front Parkway and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, were out. In addition, there was no electricity on the bayfront from Beach 96 Street to Beach 108 Street, disabling Beach Channel High School, which was to host a basketball game with Far Rockaway High School as well as at McDonald’s.

While the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) responded to the fire, it reportedly turned its team around when the fire department determined that there was no danger to the residents of the nearby Dayton Towers buildings.

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) called a Level I mobilization to assist in traffic control and in a possible evacuation of the 12-story apartment buildings.

Fire units from all over the peninsula, led by Battalion Chief Edward McGrath, responded to the scene as well and quickly put out the fire. In total, more than 10 pieces of apparatus and 50 firefighters were quickly on the scene.

The fire call was reported to the 911 system at 2 p.m. and by 2:40, some of the fire units had been given their recall and had returned to their firehouses.

Repair trucks from LIPA responded to the scene shortly after the fire was extinguished to repair the damaged electrical connections.

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