Fire fighters tried their best to rush to the scene of a five-alarm fire that raged for three hours in an Elmhurst, Queens apartment building during the blizzard that blanketed New York City and Long Island with 20" of snow. However, unplowed roadways, abandoned cars, and frozen hydrants made it difficult for firefighters to respond. After being delayed up to 15 minutes to get to the scene, firefighters were forced to carry their gear almost eight blocks to reach the fire, according to officials.
The fire began on the top floor of the six-floor apartment building on Judge Street and spread quickly through the building after strong winds shattered windows in the apartment. Said building resident Isnaya Medina, "It's terrible...hydrants are frozen so the Fire Department has to be working hard."
"It's amazing that no one died here," one angry resident said. "People in the building began knocking on doors and getting people out of their apartments as soon as they smelled smoke. But the firefighters had a really rough time getting here because the streets aren't plowed."
Five firefighters and three civilians suffered minor injuries, and 100 families were displaced in this fire. The displaced families were being sheltered at a local public school. "It's very bad," said resident Hector Gonzales. "I feel terrible I'm not in my apartment."
Throughout the city, angry residents blamed the city for not being prepared for this storm. Fire and EMS sources complained that the city should have called a snow emergency, which would have required snow routes to remain clear for emergency vehicles only. Instead, many streets were left unplowed and blocked by vehicles, making it difficult for emergency vehicles throughout the five boroughs to respond to calls.
Did the residents of this building suffer damages due to the city's poor response to this storm? Probably so. But whether or not the city can share any of the liability would probably depend on whether they took reasonable measures to react to this storm, which was one of the area's worst in many years. If you've been injured in a fire, Goldstein and Bashner can answer any questions you have and provide you information to help you understand whether or not you have a case and what to do about it. We have years of experience with cases throughout Long Island and New York City and will help you collect the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.