3 firefighters injured, businesses gutted in 4-alarm Queens blaze
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Three firefighters were injured battling a raging four-alarm blaze that gutted three stores in Queens early Saturday, authorities said.
The blaze erupted around 2:20 a.m. along Springfield Boulevard near 112th Avenue in Queens Village, waking — and terrifying neighbors.
Wadah Zokari was in his apartment with extended family when one of his brothers alerted him to the inferno.
“People in the street saw the smoke coming out of the building. Somebody was running and shouting, ‘Fire! fire!’ My brother went out and saw the smoke and called me. Someone called 911,” said Wadah Zokari, who was with sleeping along with his extended family in an apartment building next door to the fire.
“I was nervous it would come over to my building. I have my family upstairs in the building – my wife, three kids, my brother and his wife, their kids, my mom…we have the whole building. My dad passed away last month — I don’t want to lose nobody.”
Zokari, 37, rousted his family members — all in their “sleep clothes” — and “we put on hoodies and covered the children in blankets and we ran out in the street.
“It was a big fire – like 100 fire trucks came. The flames were flashing up from the back, the front, the roof. The roof went down,” he said.
FDNY Assistant Chief Joseph Jardin said over 200 firefighters were on the scene three minutes after the call came in for a blaze at 111-46 Springfield Boulevard and one member discovered a “heavy volume of fire” in the roof and rear in the middle of the three attached commercial buildings.
The blaze was deemed under control shortly before 5:30 a.m., officials said. It totaled three of the five business on the commercial strip, including Spring Pharmacy, Dominican Hair Salon and Springfield Cutz Barbershop.
“I feel bad for my neighbors. I see them everyday,” said a still-shaken Zokari, whose family runs the New World Deli.
“They lost everything. One thing…nobody died and that’s good…I was praying nothing happened to my family, my building or business. I’ve been here 20 years. Thank God my building is safe,” he added.
Two of the three injured firefighters had to be removed following a collapse of 20-foot by 20-foot roofing at the rear of the building, Jardin said.
Two firefighters suffered “serious but non-life-threatening injuries, Jardin said, adding one was taken to Cornell Medical Center with burns and another was transported to North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset. A third smoke-eater suffered minor injuries, Jardin said.
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