Roof worker arrested in Bay Terrace fire

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A five-alarm fire on the roof of a Bay Terrace apartment building Wednesday was caused by the illegal use of a torch on a combustible roof, the city’s Fire Department said.

The roof of the building had been under maintenance at the time of the fire, the FDNY said. One worker was arrested after he allegedly used a torch on the roof illegally, the FDNY said.

A total of 13 firefighters were injured in the blaze, while three residents of the building suffered minor injuries, a Fire Department spokesman said.

The fire broke out about 2:45 p.m. and took two hours to extinguish.

Fire trucks raced down Bell Boulevard toward the fire, bringing hundreds of firefighters to the scene. Firefighters were forced to bust out the window of the seventh-floor apartment where the blaze started, causing glass, ash and water to pour down onto the building’s parking lot.

Residents of the building peered out from their second- and third-floor balconies to watch the commotion several floors above them.

“They knocked on my door and when I opened it, the hall was filled with smoke,” said Mike D’Angelo, who lives on the seventh floor of the building at 16-66 Bell Blvd. in Bay Terrace.

D’Angelo said he went next door to make sure that his elderly neighbors had made it safely out of the building.

The fire was the second in the borough Wednesday following a massive blaze in Rego Park that injured 17 firefighters.

Firefighters fought not only the inferno in Rego Park, but also the punishing 99 degree temperature that was part of a three-day heat wave.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 6:14 pm, October 10, 2011
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