Smoky Bayside fire evicts hundreds

A smoky fire in an eighth floor bedroom of a Bayside high-rise sent hundreds of residents into the street and one woman to the hospital on recently.
Workers in the Versailles, a 17-story co-op at 18-05 215th Street, were searching the building after residents reported smelling smoke, when they found Pam Prince prostrate at the front door of her apartment shortly after 5 p.m. on Monday, August 25, according to co-op president Fred Blumenfeld.
“The staff knocked on every door in the building,” he said.
Prince was apparently returning from a shopping errand when she opened the door to her residence and was bowled over by a blast of smoke, driven by strong winds.
Within minutes, firefighters and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) units arrived in response to the “10-77 High Rise” alarm, “about the equivalent to a second alarm,” according to a firefighter at the scene, which drew 15 pieces of fire apparatus and four EMS trucks.
“A high-rise response is massive because we have to search the building and evacuate people below [the fire] while we fight the fire,” said Mark Ferrar, Division 14 commander for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). “The high wind was a factor here, but the guys did a great job,” he said.
Residents from the lower floors who were ordered out of the building stood with residents from neighboring buildings to watch the operation, and wonder about the fate of those living above the fire, who were ordered to stay in their apartments.
Several upper floor residents took to their terraces, to escape the smell of smoke and for some, to watch the drama unfold directly below them.
“They came really fast,” said Charlotte Ryan, as she watched water spraying from the shattered windows and cascading down from five floors above her own apartment. “I’m a little worried, because I have two cats in there,” she confessed.
A high-ranking EMS officer at the scene confirmed that “two civilians and four firefighters” were injured “none seriously,” and that Prince was being transported to North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, “for observation.”

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