ARDEN HEIGHTS, Staten Island (PIX11) – Twenty-two FDNY firefighters were injured battling a house fire in Staten Island Friday afternoon, officials said.
The four-alarm fire broke out at a duplex home at 88 Shotwell Ave. and 84 Shotwell Ave. in Arden Heights just before 1:30 p.m., according to FDNY officials. The rear of one of the homes collapsed while firefighters were inside, authorities said.
None of the firefighters were trapped in the collapse, but two ended up trapped in the flames while inside, officials said.
“There was a heavy wind condition at the fire, so as the firefighters were inside searching for occupants, the windows failed and the wind blew the fire intensely into the building right at the firefighters. Two of them became trapped by fire,” Chief of Department John Hodgens said.
One of the trapped firefighters was able to make their way to a second-floor balcony and jump down to the driveway below, Hodgens said. The other firefighter who was trapped transmitted a mayday signal in distress and was rescued by firefighters on the second floor.
A firefighter operating a hose nozzle suffered smoke inhalation while battling the fire. The two firefighters who were trapped and the firefighter who suffered smoke inhalation were hospitalized in serious but stable condition and are expected to survive, officials said. Nineteen other firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries, per the department.
“I cannot emphasize enough that this was a very close call for the FDNY, which could have lost three members today,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. “But it was thanks to the brave work of our members, including those who went in and saved their fellow firefighters, rescued the trapped members, brought them to EMS on scene who treated them immediately.”
The fire has been brought under control. Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.
Nine residents of the homes, including three families, have been displaced, according to the Red Cross, which is providing them with financial assistance.