Demolition accident sparks blaze

The project manager of a Jamaica building that caught fire while being demolished said that he is upset over what happened, and is sorry for the injuries three firemen suffered while battling the two-alarm blaze.
Two firefighters were taken to the hospital on Friday, September 21 after part of the structure collapsed while they tried to extinguish the fire, allegedly caused by debris ignited by demolition crews.
Another firefighter was injured at the scene, but was not taken to the hospital.
A Fire Department of New York (FDNY) spokesperson said 25 units responded to calls of a fire at 148-27 94th Avenue around 6 p.m. More than 100 firefighters showed up to fight the blaze at the four-story commercial building that was being demolished.
Department officials said part of the building collapsed between the second and third floors, but that it remains unclear which part of the structure actually fell. The investigation into the collapse and the cause of the fire is still ongoing.
The collapse caused minor injuries to three firefighters, two of whom were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where they were listed in stable condition as of Monday, September 24. The Fire Department is not releasing the injured firefighters’ names.
“A landing between the second and third floor collapsed and it was a localized collapse,” said FDNY Chief Michael Halderman, according to published reports. “And two members were initially pinned beneath some rubble.”
The site’s project manager, who declined to give his name, said the fire started when the crew was removing a door to an elevator shaft using torches, setting fire to debris in the shaft.
Repeated phone calls to Cole Partners Inc., the company in charge of the demolition, were not returned as of press time. The site was issued a stop work order by the city on September 16 for “failure to maintain a sprinkler system and project openings at the site.” The stop order was lifted two days later.

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