2010-07-30 / Front Page

Fire Guts Beach 96 Street Home

By Howard Schwach

Firefighters from Ladder 137 (the Rockaway Beach firehouse on Beach 116 Street) were one of the first fire units on scene. In all, more than 125 firefighters fought the blaze. Photo By Susan Locke Firefighters from Ladder 137 (the Rockaway Beach firehouse on Beach 116 Street) were one of the first fire units on scene. In all, more than 125 firefighters fought the blaze. Photo By Susan Locke A fast-moving fire destroyed a deserted house on Beach 96 Street just off Rockaway Beach Boulevard early in the morning of Friday, July 23, fire officials say.

According to a fire department spokesperson, the first alarm was called in to the 911 emergency system at 5:46 a.m., reporting a large fire at 192 Beach 96 Street. That report brought a number of local units to the scene.

They found a three-story deserted home, with a ‘For Sale’ sign on the front, completely engulfed in fire.

A second alarm was sent out at 6:08 a.m., bringing even more fire units to the scene.

At the height of the fire, more than 25 fire units and 125 firefighters fought the fire.

It was declared under control at 7:48 a.m., a little more than two hours after the first report was called in.

Eyewitnesses reported sighting an older man running from the scene, adding that they believed that squatters lived in the deserted building.

A next-door neighbor said that he believed that the man who lived in the house had been using it to sell drugs.

“I heard ‘fire’ and I ran out in my underwear and got everybody out of the house,” the neighbor said. “By the time I got out, all you could see was smoke and fire.”

Fire officials told The Wave that the fire had not yet been declared “of suspicious origin,” but that they were looking for the man who was seen running from the house.

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