A devastating blaze left many Morris Heights families without a home last week.
According to a FDNY spokesman, on Tuesday, February 23 at 2:14 a.m., a four-alarm fire was raging at 1892 Andrews Avenue resulting in 39 FDNY units and 168 members dispatched to the scene.
The inferno which tore through the six-story apartment building was brought under control two hours later.
The FDNY reported that five civilians sustained non-life threatening injuries from this early morning fire and were taken to local hospitals for treatment. There were no fatalities.
Fire marshals determined the cause as a clothes dryer fire which started in the Super Laundry located on the building’s ground floor.
A NYC Department of Buildings spokesman said the agency issued partial vacate orders for fire, smoke and water related damage to apartments located on the fourth and fifth floors.
Portions of the roof were lost.
The DOB spokesman confirmed that despite this extensive damage, the building itself remains structurally sound.
Michael de Vulpillieres, American Red Cross Greater NY Region communications officer, said several Red Cross teams were dispatched to the scene to aid eight households left displaced by the fire.
In addition to providing food, blankets and other relief items, Red Cross responders provided three families with temporary housing at local hotels and emergency funds to help them get through these next few days.
The remaining families self-relocated, he said.
“Losing your home is an extremely traumatic experience and we want these victims to know they’re not alone and the American Red Cross is here to help them during this extremely difficult time,” said de Vulpillieres.
“When I arrived at the scene last Tuesday morning, I saw many distraught tenants and people panicking standing in the streets,” Dr. Bola Omotosho, Community Board 5 chairman, who was a first responder aiding residents during the evacuation.
Dr. Omotosho commended the 46th Precinct for securing the area to provide easier access to first responders and to the FDNY for combating the blaze.
Practicing what they preach, Fordham Evangelical Lutheran Church opened their doors to some of the displaced residents allowing them to use their restrooms and to briefly recuperate that Tuesday morning, Dr. Omotosho noted.
CB 5 distributed a booklet containing a directory of community facilities and agencies to the victims that can assist them in their long-term living needs.
The following day, CB 5 held its general board meeting and discussed the Andrews Avenue.
“There’s no fire without smoke so we urge people to be more mindful of whenever they smell or see smoke to report it immediately to the FDNY,” said Dr. Omotosho. “This is especially important when living in an apartment building because you might be doing everything right, but your neighbor might not and that can affect you, your family and everyone else’s safety.”
Anyone in need of American Red Cross assistance can contact (877) RED-CROSS.