2005-01-28 / Front Page

Hot, Smoky Fire Draws 3,000 Phone Calls To 911

By Howard Schwach


Firefighters work in the freezing cold in the first and second floor apartments. 
Photos by Susan LockeFirefighters work in the freezing cold in the first and second floor apartments. Photos by Susan Locke

  • The flames from Apartment 1C in 8000 Shore Front Parkway rose high into the night sky and thick, black smoke enveloped the entire 12-story building as 3,000 calls reporting the fire and requesting assistance came into the 911 emergency system at 9:19 p.m. on Monday night.
  • Fire and police units responding to the scene found the first floor apartment, directly above the entrance to the Mitchell-Lama cooperative fully involved with the flames so hot that they melted the terrace of the second floor apartment directly above.

    The fire at 8000 Shore Front Parkway was quickly declared a second alarm, bringing dozens of pieces of fire apparatus to the scene. Shore Front Parkway was completely closed by FDNY and EMS equipment.The fire at 8000 Shore Front Parkway was quickly declared a second alarm, bringing dozens of pieces of fire apparatus to the scene. Shore Front Parkway was completely closed by FDNY and EMS equipment. The smoke was so dense at the outset that many residents on higher floors thought that the fire was nearby and requested assistance from 911 on evacuating their apartments.

    “The smoke was so dense on the eleventh floor that I was choking,” one resident who left the building told a Wave reporter on the scene. “It was so thick and hot that I thought the fire was right outside my apartment.”

    Police and firefighters braved the stinging cold to fight the fire and to help evacuate the first two floors of the 12-story building.
Police and firefighters braved the stinging cold to fight the fire and to help evacuate the first two floors of the 12-story building. The owners of the apartment, Paul and Simon Pludsi and their mother, Claudia, took to the building’s boiler room to seek shelter and to keep warm.

    Many residents stood in the chilling cold on their terraces, calling for help from firefighters and police officers far below.

    The attack on the hot and smoky fire was led by a chief from the 47 Battalion.
The attack on the hot and smoky fire was led by a chief from the 47 Battalion. Witold Nizio, who lives in Apartment 4C, was one of those who reportedly made repeated calls to 911 to ask for assistance in the heavy smoke and to find out what was happening.

    “The smoke really got to people higher up,” a fire department spokesperson said on Tuesday. “That is not unusual. What is unusual was the number of calls for help.”

    The first units on scene at 9:23 p.m. included Engines 265 and Ladder 155 and 137.

    One resident said that she was worried that fire units took longer to respond because of the recent opening of a new firehouse on Beach 54 Street, which replaced the old Beach 57 Street house. Fire officials, however, said that the response time would have virtually been the same from either location.

    A second alarm was sounded by the fire department at 9:40 p.m.

    Although one firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation, no civilian injuries were reported. The fire was declared under control at 10:15 p.m. and by 11 p.m., most of the fire units had picked up their lines and returned to their firehouses.

    Fire department sources said on Tuesday morning that fire marshals were investigating but that the fire has not been marked as suspicious in origin and a cause was not yet known.

    As reported in last week’s Wave, an inert hand grenade was found in that building’s lobby by security personnel last week.

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