An 11:20 a.m., fire, at an apartment building at the intersection of Beach 87th St. and Shorefront Parkway in Queens on Friday, Jan. 12, left 17 people injured, some with significant injuries. Among those most critically injured, were at least one police officer, two firefighters and one civilian. All of the others suffered minor injuries in the blaze.
It's believed that the fire at the Rockaway Beach 13-story apartment building was ignited after a lamp fell off a table onto a heaping pile of garbage. Residents in the area noted that they suspected that one of the building's 11th floor residents is a known hoarder who has long been accumulating trash in his apartment.
They said that they'd even overheard firefighters saying that the trash was so high in that apartment that they had difficulty opening the door to check on the resident and to put out the blaze.
The tenants who were still in the building as firefighters made their way up to the 11th floor of the high-rise were instructed to evacuate immediately as the fire appeared to be spreading fast. The blaze was apparently so strong that others in the neighborhood could see smoke and flames billowing from the windows of several apartments in the building.
Apparently some of the police officers were attempting to knock on different doors in the building to evacuate residents when several of them were overcome with heavy smoke. This caused them to become temporarily stuck on the ninth floor.
Fortunately, it wasn't long before they were able to locate a door leading to a stairwell. It's then that they were able to successfully evacuate the building themselves. At least eight of them suffered severe smoke inhalation in the process though. Another officer was seriously hurt as a result.
Ultimately, 78 firefighters, from 20 different New York Fire Department (NYFD) units, were called to the scene to put out the fire. It took them an hour to do so.
If you've been injured in a fire, whether while at work or as a bystander, due to someone else's negligence, then a Queens personal injury attorney may advise you of your right to sue for damages in your case.
Source: NY Daily News, "Seventeen injured, including nine cops, in fast-moving Queens apartment building fire," Elizabeth Keogh, Jan. 12, 2018