FDNY: FF trapped, burned while searching apartment

Officials said the firefighter was forced to breach a wall to escape as "the room lit up on him" during a blaze on Friday


Maura Grunlund
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — A firefighter suffered burns when he became trapped by a fast-moving electrical fire inside an apartment in the Park Hill Apartments in Clifton, according to the FDNY.

Fire marshals determined that the blaze was caused by faulty wiring, according to FDNY spokesman Jim Long.

A civilian also was injured in the blaze, which was reported at about 9:40 a.m. Friday on the fifth floor of the seven-story building at 260 Park Hill Ave., the FDNY spokesman said.

Sources identified the injured firefighter as Brian Gill.

The firefighter was inside the apartment searching for potential victims and trying to identify the location of the blaze when “the room lit up on him,” Long said.

He explained that “the fire increased in its intensity very quickly.”

The conflagration prevented the firefighter from exiting through a door, so he was forced to breach a wall to escape to safety, Long said.

Other firefighters were in the apartment; they were going in different directions when the fire flared.

“He did sustain burn injuries,” said Long, who cited privacy concerns as he declined to provide any details about the firefighter’s wounds.

Both the firefighter and civilian were taken to area hospitals and were expected to recover from their injuries, the FDNY said on Friday.

About 17 units with about 90 members brought the fire under control in less than an hour, at 10:37 a.m., the FDNY previously said.

The fire occurred while workers were trying to fix an electrical issue in the apartment, according to Kelvin Richards, an attorney, activist and friend of the family.

Deborah Richard said she and her relatives escaped without injury after the fire began while the work was being done on the electricity in her 4-year-old nephew’s bedroom.

“My nephew went into his room to get his iPod and he said, ‘Oh Mommy, the room is on fire,’' Richard said. "We had to run out.”

The electricity wasn’t working properly for a while and, after repeated requests, the management office finally sent someone to do the repairs on Friday, Richard said.

The Red Cross provided emergency housing at hotels and financial assistance to families displaced from at least four apartments that were destroyed in the fire, a spokesman for the Red Cross said.

The management office for the Park Hill Apartments could not immediately be reached for comment.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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