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Sandy-fueled blaze ravages Breezy Point homes

A Virgin Mary statue overlooks charred remains of

A Virgin Mary statue overlooks charred remains of homes, some still smoldering, in Breezy Point, Queens, after a fire broke out during Sandy. (Oct. 30, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

A huge fire has destroyed at least 50 homes in a flooded neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

More than 190 firefighters were trying to contain the blaze in the Breezy Point section and two people have suffered minor injuries, a fire department spokesman said.

The fire was reported around 11 p.m. Monday in an area flooded by the superstorm that began sweeping through the city earlier, officials said.

Firefighters told WABC-TV that the water was chest high on the street, and they had to use a boat to make rescues. They said in one apartment home, about 25 people were trapped in an upstairs unit, and the 2-story home next door was ablaze and setting fire to the apartment's roof. Firefighters climbed an awning to access the trapped people, and took them downstairs to the boat in the street.

Video footage of the scene shows a hellish swath of tightly packed homes fully engulfed in orange flames as firefighters hauled hoses while sloshing in ankle-high water. Many homes appeared completely flattened by the wind-whipped flames.

The neighborhood sits on the Rockaway peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

In September, the beachfront neighborhood was struck by a tornado that hurled debris in the air, knocked out power and startled residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.

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