Bensonhurst fire displaces 29 residents, injures firefighter

bensonhurst fire
A fire tore through two two-story houses in Bensonhurst on Feb. 14.
Adam Balhetchet

A three-alarm blaze ripped through two Bensonhurst houses on Friday night, injuring one firefighter and displacing 29 residents, according to authorities. 

The inferno erupted on the second floor of a two-story house on 85th Street between 19th and 20th avenues just before 11:38 pm, before spreading to the neighboring house by 12:15 am, according to the fire department.

“We found a fire in basically every floor in both buildings,” Deputy Chief David Maj told Loudlabs on the scene. “It was very difficult to locate the fire in the old buildings.” 

More than 130 smoke eaters arrived at the scene and put the fire under control by 12:48 am on Feb. 15, according to a Fire Department spokesman, who said that one  firefighter sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene.

The Red Cross also rushed to the fire to provide clothes, food, and shelter for the seven families that live in the two buildings, said Red Cross spokesman Michael De Vulpillieres.

“We dispatched multiple teams on the scene and they arrived before 1,” De Vulpillieres said. “There was a total of five responders, mostly volunteers.”

Reps with the Red Cross took 25 adults and four children to a nearby hotel for the weekend, and will refer them to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to find replacement housing, De Vulpillieres said. 

Neighbors said that the enormous blaze sent shockwaves through the neighborhood.

“It was definitely a bad fire. There were so many trucks blocking the street,” said Amelija S., who lives across the street. “The fire looked like it was on the top of the house and it kept going on and off for like five or six hours.” 

The Department of Buildings had issued vacate orders for both buildings, one of which had illegal gas plumbing work in the attic to create a full kitchen, NBC reported

bensonhurst fire
The blaze ripped through every room in two houses, a firefighter said.Photo by Meg Capone
bensonhurst fire
The fire destroyed the roofs of two 85th Street houses in the early morning of Feb. 15.Photo by Meg Capone