Hundreds of firefighters responded to a blaze at an apartment building in Flatbush that houses the district office of Congressmember Yvette Clarke on Wednesday.
At about 10:45 am, FDNY responded to a four-alarm conflagration on the roof of 222 Lenox Rd. in Flatbush, a seven-story apartment building where Clarke has her district office on the ground floor. A total of 168 firefighters and EMTs were at the scene.
FDNY Chief of Department Thomas Richardson said at the scene that the fire occurred in four separate apartments, and spread to the building’s “cockloft,” the space between the top floor’s ceiling and the roof which Richardson said is a tough area for firefighters to control a blaze.
“This makes it very difficult for us to access,” Richardson said. “But our firefighters very quickly stretched multiple hose lines to the top floor and were able to expose the fire and extinguish the fire in fairly short order.”
“This was a very difficult fire,” he continued.
In a tweet, Clarke said her office didn’t sustain any significant damage and remains open.
“I would like to thank the FDNY for their swift action to the fire in my District Office building today,” Clarke said. “Thankfully, our office was not seriously impacted. Also, thank you to all who reached out to inquire about our well-being. My office remains open to serve the community.”
A spokesperson for Clarke’s office did not respond to a request for additional comment.
Richardson said the exact cause of the fire is unknown but that there was work being done on the roof in the lead-up to the fire.
The chief noted that one of the units that would normally respond to a fire at that location was out of service due to the city’s coronavirus vaccination mandate, but a “relocated fire company” took the unit’s place and responded without delay. An FDNY spokesperson previously told Brooklyn Paper that the department is shifting around units to address any shortages caused by unvaxxed firefighters, but honchos say the disruption is minimal.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Thursday press briefing that only four units are currently out of service, and denied that shuttered companies are allowing fires to grow beyond what they otherwise would.
“There are four units out of service,” Nigro said. “I dare say that’s fewer than on most days of any given year. We have had some understaffed units, but we’ve looked very carefully at these multiple alarms that occur each and every year when the weather gets cold. And the performance of our members has been fantastic.”
Earlier in the morning, smoke-eaters responded to a three-alarm blaze just before 8 am at 475 43rd St. in Sunset Park, a four-story residential building with a deli at the base directly across from the namesake neighborhood park. An FDNY spokesperson said that three injuries resulted from the fire, including one civilian and two firefighters. The fire was under control just after 9:30.