Rensselaer Fire Relief
Help Those Families Affected by the Recent 5 Alarm Fire on Staten Island
FDNY details how 5-alarm inferno tore through South Shore homes
(Credit Staten Island Advance) STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A five-alarm fire that displaced more than 30 people in Huguenot Monday afternoon is believed to have begun on the first floor of one of the homes destroyed in the blaze.
Firefighters arrived on Rensselaer Avenue just before 3 p.m. and encountered “heavy fire” coming from the buildings, according to John Sudnik, the FDNY chief of department, who addressed reporters just across the street from where the fire severely damaged six homes.
Firefighters believe the fire started on the first floor of 827 Rensselaer Ave. before quickly extending into the adjoining houses, Sudnik said.
In all, 819, 821, 823, 825, 827 and 829 Rensselaer Ave. all suffered damage as a result of the blaze.
While the exact cause of the fire is currently under investigation, Sudnik said the construction of the buildings contributed to the speed in which the fire spread through the roof areas of the homes.
There “is a lot of wood up there,” Sudnik said of the attics of the buildings, from which heavy smoke poured out into the evening.
Firefighters quickly worked to contain the blaze to the single set of six apartments, as it nearly spread to another set of homes during the initial FDNY response.
More than 200 firefighters and EMS workers were on the scene Monday afternoon. Ten firefighters suffered various minor injuries, and one civilian had a minor injury due to smoke inhalation.
Several neighbors ran into one of the engulfed homes and carried down a disabled resident before tragedy could have struck.
“My son was inside the house and he said ‘Dad, the house [is] on fire across the street,’ ” said Paul Oliveri, 54, who identified himself as a retired cop who lives in the community. “We saw all the black smoke.
“I come running outside, another guy comes running outside and we know that there’s a disabled woman that lives in that house,” Oliveri continued.
He said he and the man, now joined by another neighbor, ran to the back of the home to rescue the woman.
“We ended up going into that house and carrying Terry, the disabled woman, down,” he said. “We were gagging with the smoke. We had her down before the Fire Department came here.”
Another resident on the block said one home was already engulfed in flames by the time he arrived — then it quickly spread.
“One house was up, then another house was up, then another house was up,” the man said.