Today’s news:

No serious injuries as fire engulfs 11 homes in Woodhaven

A quick-moving, five-alarm blaze engulfed 11 homes on a Woodhaven block Thursday, fire officials said.

Two firefighters and two civilians suffered minor injuries in the fire that swept through 96th Street by 91st Avenue in Woodhaven, according to Battalion Chief Sal Cassano. A cat was rescued.

He said fire marshals were still investigating the cause of the blaze, although neighbors said it was caused by an elderly man who was smoking.

When firefighters arrived at the scene at around 1:30 p.m., the blaze had already spread to more than one home, Cassano said. It took almost two hours to extinguish as 65 units as well as 230 firefighters and EMS workers battled the blaze, he said.

Firefighters were unsure in which home the fire started, Cassano said, but the blaze originated in a cockloft and quickly spread. High wind gusts contributed to the fire’s spreading, he said.

“We had a lot of fire and it’s swirling,” he said. “There was so much smoke when we got there. The wind made it very difficult. The firefighters who are here did a great job.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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