BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — Ten FDNY members were hurt battling a five-alarm fire that spread to several stores in Brooklyn Sunday afternoon, according to officials.
Authorities responded to the blaze at 106 Lee Ave., near Hewes Street, in Williamsburg at around noon, according to the FDNY.
The fire impacted nine businesses, officials said. The fire spread through the cockloft, which is the space between the ceiling and the roof that runs above the businesses.
“The fire was well advanced in that space before we even got here. The operation is we have to force our way into every store — nine stores that have roll-down gates — and stretch a hose line to each store,” said Chief of Department John Hodgens. “Our other members have to go in and search to make sure there are no victims and start opening up with tools to expose the fire, which is hidden above the ceiling.”
Dozens of firefighters were seen trying to get the heavy smoke from the blaze under control, according to an FDNY video. The smoke could be seen from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.
“They had heavy fire throughout the building by the time they got inside,” Hodgens said. “It was a challenging fire due to the hot weather and the fact that the fire had gained headway before we were able to get water on it.”
Firefighters worked to make sure that the fire didn’t spread to adjacent apartment buildings. They were eventually able to get the flames under control.
All of the FDNY members who were hurt will be OK, according to Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. No civilians were hurt, officials said.
NYC Councilman Lincoln Restler said the fire was “devastating,” occurring at the main shopping strip for the community.
“We’ve had a tragic fire here in the heart of South Williamsburg…multiple storefronts have been destroyed,” Restler said. “The smoke in the air is so dense. The stench in the air is so strong.”
The cause of the fire was under investigation.