Fire marshals investigate ‘suspicious’ two-alarm inferno that burned Brooklyn homes

A suspicious fire destroyed a building under renovation on Covert Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn Thursday night. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

A suspicious two-alarm fire lit up the sky in Brooklyn on Thursday night, destroying one house under construction and causing severe damage to three adjacent dwellings, fire officials said.

Two firefighters received minor injuries battling the blaze. Both were treated at a local hospital. At least 15 residents were left homeless, officials said.

FDNY Deputy Chief James Smithwick said the inferno ignited at about 5:33 p.m. on Jan. 2 at a three-story home at 168 Covert St., between Central and Wilson Avenues.

Though firefighters were there in three minutes of receiving a call about the blaze, the entire top floor was engulfed in flames by the time they arrived, Smithwick added.

Firefighters battled the massive 2-alarm fire in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

The fire quickly spread to 166 and 164 Covert St., prompting a second alarm that brought in nearly 100 firefighters and EMS personnel. The blaze was brought under control about an hour later, but by then, the home where the fire started was completely destroyed, and the two adjoining structures suffered heavy damage.

“Within about a minute of the firefighters getting there, the fire was already lighting up the sky,” said James Borden, a neighbor who lives at the corner of the block. “I couldn’t believe how big the fire was.”

Smithwick said a cat was rescued by firefighters and was given to a neighbor.

The fire was considered “suspicious” because the building was under renovation at the time of the fire. Fire marshals will be investigating the cause of the fire, he said.

Neighbors said the building had been used by homeless squatters for months before the building owners started renovating the three story home.

A cat was rescued from the burning building by firefighters. (Photo by Todd Maisel)
Firefighters fought a tough 2-alarm fire on the top floor of 168 Covert Street in Bushwick. (Photo by Todd Maisel)

Todd Maisel