Dozens of Queens residents left homeless after massive fire rips through six buildings

Fire Department units at the scene of a six-alarm inferno along Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, Queens on Dec. 10, 2020.
Photo via Twitter/@FDNY

Numerous Queens residents were displaced and three firefighters were injured after a six-alarm inferno engulfed six buildings early Thursday morning.

The Fire Department reported that the massive tempest in Richmond Hill broke out at around 1 a.m. on Dec. 10 inside 109-25 Jamaica Ave., at 110th Street. The first units arrived on scene within three minutes of 911 receiving the emergency call, sources said.

The “fast-moving fire,” as Assistant Chief John Hodgens described it, started inside the barber shop on the ground floor and quickly spread up to the second floor and the building’s cockloft — a space between the attic and roof common in wood-frame structures built in the last century.

“Once it gets in there, we have to try and get ahead of it. We quickly have to get into the other buildings. It’s all wood structure, old. That’s the challenge,” he said.

From the cockloft, the flames quickly traveled to six adjoining structures. Forty residents inside the buildings, in apartments located above storefronts, self-evacuated; fortunately, none of them were injured.

All of them, however, lost their homes. Immediately after the fire, Hodgens said, they were placed in MTA buses dispatched to the scene just to keep them warm. The American Red Cross worked to find them new, temporary shelter.

Photo via Twitter/@FDNY

The Red Cross reported Thursday that it is providing temporary housing in area hotels as well as financial assistance to 36 people in six households impacted by the fire.

More than 200 firefighters converged upon the scene to battle the blaze, along with officers from the 102nd Precinct and EMS units. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated at Jamaica Hospital, Fire Department sources said.

The fire was finally brought under control at about 3:43 a.m. on Dec. 10. The cause is not yet known but is under investigation by the FDNY marshals.