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Three-alarm blaze rips through two S. Richmond Hill homes: FDNY

By Alex Robinson

A three-alarm fire destroyed a family’s home in South Richmond Hill Sunday morning after it ignited in the vacant house next door, the FDNY said.

More than 130 firefighters responded to the blaze near the corner of 120th Street and Liberty Avenue at 11:28 a.m., according to fire officials.

Neighbors said the house where the fire started has sat vacant for more than five years and that homeless people tend to squat on the property.

“I woke up to firemen banging on our doors,” said Loretta Hickson, a neighbor who has lived in the area for 17 years. “There was smoke everywhere.”

Hickson said a blaze broke out roughly a year ago in the back yard of the same building when she believes a homeless man started a fire in an attempt to keep warm.

“My poor neighbors. They’re just recovering from last year’s fire,” she said. “It’s horrific.”

The Red Cross were already on scene in the early afternoon Sunday offering shelter to the family who live in the house the fire spread to.

“It’s lucky no one was hurt. It was burning so crazily,” said Muhammed Ashfaq whose grandparents reside in the home with his aunt and uncle.

The fire was brought under control by 12:35 p.m. and no one was injured by the blaze, the FDNY said.

A Fire Department spokesman said the cause of the fire had not yet been determined and was still under investigation.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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