Huge fire in Sandy's wake destroys dozens of NYC homes

NEW YORK Tue Oct 30, 2012 9:46am EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A huge fire that erupted as Sandy ripped through New York City with near-hurricane force winds on Monday night destroyed dozens of homes in one of the city's most remote neighborhoods, officials said.

The neighborhood, Breezy Point in the borough of Queens, had been extensively flooded by Sandy's record storm surge, and firefighters were hampered in their efforts to bring the blaze under control, a spokesman for the New York Fire Department said.

No casualties were immediately reported and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

A tweet from the FDNY's official Twitter feed said 50 or more homes were destroyed in the fire. The fire still was not under control by 5 a.m. (0900 GMT), the department said.

Local television showed firefighters wading through waist-deep water to get to the massive fire. Some used inflatable boats to reach it.

Breezy Point is a private beach community in the Rockaway area, a narrow spit of land barely above sea level that thrusts into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

It was one of a number of New York City neighborhoods that had been under a mandatory evacuation order as Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the United States, approached from the southeast.

According to a report from WABC-TV in New York, dozens of residents chose not to obey the evacuation order and as many as 40 had to be rescued by firefighters from homes in the neighborhood as the fire approached, driven by 70 mph (112 kmh) winds. The NYFD spokesman could not verify the television station's report of rescues.

(Reporting By Dan Burns; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (4)
PCScipio wrote:
My first job was at the Surf Club in Breezy Point. Fifty years ago that area was a tinder box of wooden beach houses waiting for disaster. It probably hasn’t changed so very much over the years, so it’s sad but not surprising. The folks who live there have my sympathy and best wishes for speedy recovery.

Oct 30, 2012 7:04am EDT  --  Report as abuse
d2lv wrote:
In flood zones, it is fairly common practice for people to set fire to their homes because insurance covers fire bit not flooding. I lived in KC in 1950 when a flood hit and I heard the adults talking about easy it was to get insurance to cover the loss after a fire but not for the flooding. The flooding erases most if not all evidence.

Oct 30, 2012 7:53am EDT  --  Report as abuse
frodobaggins wrote:
“the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” – BHO, 2008

Hmmm . . . . I am aghast. If anybody else had said it, they would be a pariah today.

Oct 30, 2012 9:26am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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