2008-04-25 / Front Page

Fast-Moving Fire Injures 20

By Miriam Rosenberg

Twenty locals, including nine children, were sent to local hospitals when firefighters were called to a fast-moving fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning, fire officials say. The cause of the blaze, which engulfed all three floors of a frame building located at 22-59 Loretta Road in Far Rockaway, remains under investigation at press time.

One of the occupants of the burned-out apartments, whose baby was rescued from the fire, watches the aftermath. Photo by Keith Booker. One of the occupants of the burned-out apartments, whose baby was rescued from the fire, watches the aftermath. Photo by Keith Booker. According to an FDNY spokesperson, twenty-five companies, and approximately 106 firefighters responded to the 4:30 a.m. call.

A second alarm was called when arriving firefighters decided that more units were necessary to fight the fire, which was declared under control at 5:49 a.m.

Among the 20 injured were nine children, seven adults and four firefighters.

"None [of the injuries] were serious," said the FDNY spokesman.

The spokesman said that one child, a baby in a crib, was rescued from an adjacent building, which also sustained fire damage.

"The injured were split between Peninsula [Hospital Center] and St. John's [Episcopal Hospital]," the department representative said.

The Wave spoke with the owner of the building, Raymond Smith, late Tuesday morning.

According to Smith, who lived in the building, there were two apartments in the building and both were occupied at the time of the fire, but everyone got out.

"Some are in the hospital and some are at a hotel," said Smith, who had confirmed that the Red Cross had relocated the residents.

Smith said that the attached homes looked like a total loss.

This is the second time that the building at 22-59 Loretta Road has seen a heavy fire.

According to a report on the New York City Fire Department website, on the morning of October 2, 1999 firefighters responded to a call in which they were "greeted by the sight of heavy fire showing from the front door, out windows on the second floor and coming from three third-floor windows."

Tuesday's fire is being investigated by FDNY fire marshals.

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