Uniondale senior complex residents remain displaced after fire

A resident assisted by Town of Hempstead workers A resident assisted by Town of Hempstead workers removes some of her personal effects on Saturday, June 7, 2014 in Uniondale, after a fire in her building displaced 18 residents Friday night. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Residents of a Uniondale senior-citizen housing complex damaged in a fire lugged out their belongings Saturday as workers removed debris and cleaned soot-covered walls.

"A lot of my things were destroyed," said Bill Ward, 77, who has lived in the Town of Hempstead complex at 750 Jerusalem Ave. for about a decade. "I have to go live with my daughter now."

Fire officials said the blaze, which started about 8 p.m. Friday in a ground-floor studio apartment, displaced 18 people. The sole occupant of the studio was found outside unharmed.

Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said Saturday that 10 of the displaced residents have returned to an adjacent building unaffected by the fire. The other people lived in the building that was damaged.

Four of those residents were placed in temporary Town of Hempstead Housing Authority apartments. The other four opted to stay with family and will be offered housing authority apartments Sunday or Monday, Deery said.

James Hickman, Fire Investigations Division supervisor for the Nassau County fire marshal's office, said Friday that the fire appeared to be accidental.

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The cause was still undetermined Saturday, he said.

Four fire departments and 100 fire personnel responded, managing to keep the blaze from spreading to other apartments, officials said.

Nassau police said no criminality was suspected.

Deery said officials are still assessing the damage, and it's not yet known when the remaining residents will be able to return to their homes.

"It's an inconvenience," Ward said.

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