Floral Park fire: Officials investigating blaze still attempting to access basement
Firefighters from 17 Nassau departments battled a blaze Monday afternoon at a two-story commercial building on Jericho Turnpike in Floral Park.
As store owners watched from afar, firefighters worked for more than four hours Monday, dousing the blaze with hoses and placing ladders into the windows of the 1960s brick building as smoke poured out of it.
The fire was placed under control at 2:30 p.m., Nassau Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro said.
"It's being held to the building of origin at this time, but it's a difficult fire to make access to. And because of the dangerous conditions inside, the chief has pulled everybody out to fight the fire from the outside of the building at the moment," Uttaro said Monday afternoon. .
The fire appeared to start in the basement of the building, in commercial suites below an acupuncturist and a shoe store, Uttaro said, and it spread to the second floor.
Firefighters have not determined the cause. As of Tuesday morning, fire officials were still working on gaining access to the basement, because a lot of water had to be pumped out and debris removed, Uttaro said.
"They are actively working right now to remove debris and most of the water has been pumped out," he said around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Firefighters had also evacuated an attached apartment building due to smoke damage, Uttaro said
All occupants were able to evacuate the buildings without injury. Five firefighters suffered minor injuries and two were hospitalized.
Basement fires are always the most challenging for any fire department, Uttaro said. "Usually it's one way in and one way out, which makes it very dangerous."
Two of the injured firefighters were from Floral Park; they suffered minor injuries after their ladder truck struck an LIRR overpass, Uttaro added.
Residents were told they may be displaced from their apartments for several days.
Suzanne Primm, 62, said she evacuated her apartment after she heard a fire alarm and saw the trucks outside.
"The trucks kept coming and they couldn’t get it under control. I’m worried because the smoke has been billowing in front of my window for two hours," Primm said. "It's very scary. I never thought this would happen here, but thankfully we're going to be OK. But I don't know if these businesses can recover."