The New York City Fire Department said Friday that 20 firefighters were injured while responding to a fire in a residential neighborhood.
The incident happened while firefighters were responding to a 4-alarm fire, which is considered a catastrophic event that most fire departments only encounter a few times per year.
“FDNY members are continuing to operate at a 4-alarm fire at 88 Shotwell Avenue on Staten Island,” the fire department said. “There are currently three Firefighters with serious injuries and 17 Firefighters with non-life-threatening injuries. The fire has been placed under control.”
The two family home reportedly collapsed.
FDNY members are continuing to operate at a 4-alarm fire at 88 Shotwell Avenue on Staten Island. There are currently three Firefighters with serious injuries and 17 Firefighters with non-life-threatening injuries. The fire has been placed under control. pic.twitter.com/lrRRHJxUuV
— FDNY (@FDNY) February 17, 2023
A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Twitter that the mayor was “[en route] to Staten Island North hospital to visit with the @FDNY firefighters seriously injured after a four-alarm fire on Staten Island earlier this afternoon.”
A spokesperson for the fire department said at a press conference Friday night that fire was a “close call” for the department and that the three fighters could have easily been killed.
The chief of the department said that the fire was started between the two homes in the rear and quickly spread to both homes. The windows on the homes failed and the wind outside blew the fire “intensely into the building right at the firefighters.”
The fire chief said that two of the firefighters became trapped inside while the third firefighter was able to jump off the second story balcony to get out of harm’s way. One of the firefighters was seriously hurt, had debris fall down and hit him on the head and knock his mask off, resulting in him breathing in a lot of smoke.
The fire chief said that the intensity of the fire when first responders arrived on scene is not something that fire officials see that often.