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Van Nest blaze engulfs 2 homes

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Van Nest suffered a tragedy this past weekend, as a devastating fire consumed two homes and injured civilians and a firefighter.

On Saturday, January 3, a fire erupted at 1728 Van Buren Street around 5 a.m. A second alarm fire brought Engine 90, Engine 45, Engine 88, Ladder 41, and Ladder 38 to the scene.

The fire began on the fire floor and quickly raged through the three-story structure. The flames were caught by the high winds, spreading the devastation to the adjacent residence, 1726 Van Buren Avenue.

The blazing fire was declared under control at 6:13 a.m. and after investigation was declared accidental, originating in the second floor electrical clothing drier.

There was a partial collapse of the third floor of the original building, but residents were evacuated and no major injuries were reported. According to the FDNY reports, two civilians and one firefighter were brought to Jacobi Medical Center for minor injuries all resulting from smoke inhalation.

“We are very happy the Fire Department and Red Cross was on the scene and that the people were relocated, which was the most important thing for us, to make sure people got out safe,” said John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11. “As for the location, the owners of the properties have to decide what they would like to do and if they are going to fix the property.”

The 1728 Van Buren home is owned by Lee D’Eletto, a life long resident and devout member of St. Dominic’s Church, located 1739 Unionport Road.

“Right now we are trying to see what Lee needs from the community,” said Zena Twyman, vice president of the Van Nest Community Association. “She’s been in this community as long as I can remember and she’s such a devoted person to her community. With a fire you leave the house with nothing, no clothes, no possessions, so we are certainly going to take up a collection in the community to help her.”

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