Fire breaks out at Jamaica waste facility

A lithium battery was the cause of a five-alarm fire in Jamaica.
Photo by Nicholas Biondo
By Naeisha Rose

A five-alarm fire at the Royal Waste Services waste management facility in Jamaica required approximately 20 hours and 200 firefighters to put out last week, according to the FDNY.

The FDNY tweeted that one firefighter suffered a non-life-threatening injury while trying to put out the fire last Friday at the facility located at 187-40 Jamaica Ave., a waste management site where a wall collapsed on two men in November.

“It was a very stubborn fire to put out,” Queens Borough Commander Edward Baggott said at a news conference. “We had a wind condition here, which exacerbated the condition.”

The waste facility is 0.2 miles away from the Hollis stop for the Long Island Rail Road and the fire resulted in suspension of service during rush hour to four of the rail lines: Hempstead, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson and Ronkonkoma, according to the LIRR.

Service later resumed shortly before 5 p.m.

The fire raged on March 16 from 1:10 p.m. to 8:54 a.m. the following day, according to the FDNY.

After 44 fire units put out the blaze, an FDNY spokesman tweeted the fire was accidental and caused by “improper disposal of [a] lithium battery.”

Firefighters remained on the scene despite the cold and used heavy machinery to remove the “accumulated burning rubbish and cart it out in heavy dumpsters,” according to Baggott.

The newspapers and cardboards piled as high as 15 feet at the plant WERE what made it difficult for the firefighters to stop the fire, according to Baggott.

Last year two men, ages 34 and 49 were taken to Jamaica Hospital after a wall from the facility collapsed on them, and one of the individuals was left in critical condition, according to the FDNY.

The Fire Department later requested a structural stability inspection from the Department of Buildings to address the issue at Royal Waste, and the DOB put a partial vacate order on the facility, according to nyc.gov.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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