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Police Academy opening not altered by brief blaze

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Joe Anuta

A fire that destroyed portions of a College Point Police Academy wall Tuesday afternoon will not affect the impending opening of the building, police said.

The first phase of the 10-story training facility is set to be open in December, and according to an NYPD spokesman, the blaze did not change that time line.

The two-alarm fire melted portions of the College Point Police Academy’s facade, forcing construction crews off the partially completed job.

The two-alarm fire broke out on the second floor around 1:30 p.m., according to the FDNY, and damaged parts of the facade along 28th Avenue. It was under control in a little more than an hour.

“We had a challenge out there. We had a significant fire outside the building that was extending inside. Once it got inside, we would have had a catastrophic amount of damage,” said Queens Commander and Deputy Assistant Battalion Chief Robert Maynes.

The first units on the scene knew they had to keep the fire from spreading inside, according to Maynes, and immediately began putting water on the flames after hooking up 1,050 feet of hose from a nearby hydrant.

“The fire folks did a great job,” he said. “They kept the fire from getting in there, they actually reduced the amount of smoke.”

Damage to the roughly $650 million building was minimal, he said, although glass and other material that constitute the outer facade appeared to be completely melted away, exposing the inside of the building, and scorched in several places.

A police source at the scene said the flames broke out while construction crews were working on what appeared to be a setback or a terrace when some construction materials caught fire, though no one was injured. They may have been tarring the second-story roof, the source said, but fire officials said the cause of the blaze was under investigation by fire marshals.

Turner Construction Co., the company working on the job, deferred all questions to the city Department of Design and Construction, which told Timesledger work had already resumed on other portions of the academy Tuesday. Construction nearest to the location of the fire will resume within days.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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