Brooklyn Apartment Building Fire Leaves Dozens of People Ill

NY Daily News - December 27, 2016

by RIKKI REYNA JOHN ANNESE

A dozen people were sickened by smoke after a fire broke out in a Brooklyn apartment building Christmas night, officials said.

The blaze started inside a first-floor apartment in a six-floor building on Empire Blvd. near Schenectady Ave. in Crown Heights at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday, an FDNY spokesman said.

Firefighters put out the blaze at about 7:20 p.m.

“I was outside of the building when the fire had already started and my mother and brother were inside the apartment,” said Jamel Williams, 24, a security guard who lives on the second floor.

“My mother was on the phone with me saying she smelled smoke and she couldn't get out of the apartment. The whole lobby was filled with smoke. It was so thick you couldn't see through it, it was impassable and so many people couldn't get out.”

Nine people went to area hospitals with minor injuries, while three more refused medical attention, the FDNY spokesman said.

The first-floor lobby still reeked of smoke hours later, and four large windows facing the street were blown out.

Williams said the blaze wrecked his bedroom and heavily damaged the rest of his apartment.

“I keep forgetting that today is Christmas because we are dealing with this now,” said Jamel Williams, 24, a security guard who lives on the second floor. “I'm thinking, ‘Oh my god, did our home really get destroyed on Christmas?’”