Fire tears through houses

A nighttime blaze destroyed several homes in Middle Village Monday night. Photo by Richard York
TimesLedger Newspapers
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Four families required emergency housing after a massive blaze tore through their Middle Village homes Monday night, according to officials from the American Red Cross.

About 200 firefighters were called to the five-alarm fire, which officials believe began at 78-15 68th Ave. at about 8:30 p.m. It took firefighters two hours to get the inferno under control in a line of attached houses, a spokesman for the Fire Department said.

Ten firefighters suffered minor injuries battling the fire, the spokesman said.

The Bravest who were hurt mostly had bumps and bruises and were taken to area hospitals, the FDNY spokesman said.

Six homes were affected with various degrees of damage, and the blaze was under investigation by the fire marshals but not deemed suspicious, fire officials said.

The Red Cross provided housing to eight adults and six children, and services to several others, according to Michael de Vulpillieres, a Red Cross communications officer.

In total, the Red Cross connected with 25 adults and 16 children, some as young as 2, according to the Red Cross. There were also two cats and a dog affected by the fire. Some families were able to find their own housing, Vulpillieres said.

There were no serious injuries or fatalities reported. Other than housing, the Red Cross also provided financial assistance and counseling services.

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) announced Tuesday that all three of his district offices will be used as collection sites for supplies for the families.

Doctors Without Borders was contacted to help victims who lost medications in the fire, a spokeswoman for Addabbo said.

Supplies to help clean up the site are also in need, according to the Red Cross.

Addabbo issued a statement immediately following the fire and sent his thoughts and prayers to the victims of the blaze, saying he and his office staff were prepared to assist them.

“My appreciation to all those emergency responders for their efforts in saving property and, mostly importantly, lives,” the statement said.

Those affected by emergencies who are in need of Red Cross services can call 877-Red-Cross.

The locations of Addabbo’s offices are 66-85 73rd Place in Middle Village, 159-53 102nd St. in Howard Beach and 88-08 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Room 311 in Rockaway Beach.

Reach reporter Bianca Fortis by email at or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 7:23 pm, September 12, 2013
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