By James O’Toole, Republished with Permission, NewRochelleTalk.com
New Rochelle Police and Fire started to receive multiple calls about fire coming out the windows of a 3 story apartment building early Saturday morning. The fire has now grown to 3 alarms Firemen and people who live in the building are injured. Fire as of 9.00am was still out of control.
Fire Chief Lou DeMeglio said a total of 7 firefighters were injured, one seriously. Later 2 more firefighters were injured bringing the total to 9 making this one of the the worst fires in recent years.
Injuries included burns, strained back, smoke inhalation and possible concussions. Two firefighters were injured when the roof fell in and struck two firefighter, one sustaining burns on the back of his neck.
A resident of 740 Pelham Road was overcome. He was rescued from the building by firefighters who administered CPR. The man was then taken to Montefiore Hospital in New Rochelle.
Two fire fighters were pushed out of a window by the fire early on resulting in the most serious injury when one of the two reached for a balcony railing which gave way causing him to fall, heads over heels, down two stories, about 25 feet. Initial reports were that he suffered numerous injuries including his arm, broken in two places and a broken pelvis.
All of the firefighters were taken to Montefiore.
The fire started in one apartment in the back of the building and go into the space between the ceiling and the roof. It then spread through that space across the other apartments and down into the building.
The building is divided into three sections – 470, 472 and 474 Pelham Road. The fire was prevented from spreading by firewalls between 740 and the other two sections of the building.
Paul Vacca of the New Rochelle building department condemned 470 Pelham Road. The other two sections were uninhabitable, for now, because Con Ed turned off the gas and electric to the building.
City Manager Chuck Strome set up the Hugh Doyle Center as a Red Cross emergency shelter for residents impacted by the fire.
Jim Killorin of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester was working to provide clothes and household goods for victims of the fire.
The fire was the third serious fire in New Rochelle over the past week. Todays fire and ones at 247 Drake Avenue and 52 Drake Avenue all occurred within a few blocks of each other.