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FDNY battles fast-moving 3-alarm fire in Brooklyn

A drone was used to help the incident commander as companies faced heavy fire on the top floor

By Ellen Moynihan, Leonard Greene, Thomas Tracy
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — The FDNY deployed more than 140 firefighters and a high-tech drone on Thursday to battle a stubborn blaze that destroyed a Brooklyn residential building and displaced several families just days before Christmas.

Despite the intensity, searing orange flames from the late morning, three-alarm fire caused only two minor injuries to firefighters on the scene.

According to the Fire Department, the blaze broke out on the first floor of a 100-year-old four-story building in Gowanus shortly before 11 a.m. and spread to the upper floors.

The 9th St. fire, which moved to a building next door, produced bright orange flames and thick black smoke that filled the neighborhood for several blocks.

“On arrival, we had fire on the second and third floor. We also had extension to the building on the right,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Kevin Woods.

“There is a space between the ceiling and the underside of the roof and it was common to both of these buildings. Units moved in very aggressively, very deliberately, with multiple hand lines in a very, very rapid fashion,”

Units arrived within three minutes of the first alarm and quickly realized that they would need more manpower — including an eye in the sky — according to Woods.

“We are using our drone from an aerial view and it gives us a live feed to determine some of the hotspots,” the deputy chief said.

Red Cross personnel were on the scene to help displaced families.

Neighbor Brad Vogel, 39, said he was alarmed by all the sirens.

“I went on my stoop and looked and saw there was smoke coming out of the building,” he recounted. “I was watching the firefighters climb the ladder. At that point it was just light smoke.

“It went to full-blown, roiling orange flames coming out of the upper story and full on black smoke coming out and engulfing this whole area of the street. It’s really, really unfortunate. I feel bad for my neighbors.”

Annamarie Bravo , 53, who lived on the first floor, was able to safely get her two sons out, including one who uses a wheelchair.

“Everybody go out,” she said. “Everybody is safe.”

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