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Four-alarm fire in Queens injures 7 firefighters; woman killed in East Village blaze

A four alarm fire consumed a row of commercial buildings on 37th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens between March 4-5, 2021.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Firefighters had a busy overnight as they battled a four-alarm fire that impacted a busy Queens commercial strip on Thursday night and a deadly apartment blaze in the East Village early Friday morning.

The Queens inferno was a four-alarm tempest that first broke out at about 10:49 p.m. Thursday night inside a one-story restaurant located at 37-54 74th St. 

“Our units arrived within four minutes to find heavy fire in the restaurant occupancy,” said FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgens. “Fire had extended from the basement into the upper level above the ceiling, which is called the cockloft, and spread to numerous stores down the street.”

Six units, in all, within the same building were impacted by the fire, Hodgens noted.

Firefighters work the scene of a four alarm fire on 37 Street.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Firefighters work the scene of a four alarm fire on 37 Street.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Firefighters work the scene of a four alarm fire on 37 Street.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, which reached a fourth alarm at about 1:45 a.m. on March 5. In all, 39 FDNY units and 168 firefighters took part in the operation, working nearly six hours to knock down the flames.

The injured firefighters were taken to nearby hospitals for treatment. No civilians were reported injured.

Firefighters eventually brought the blaze under control at about 4:11 a.m. Friday. The cause is now under investigation by FDNY marshals.

Meanwhile, across the East River, a woman was killed during a one-alarm fire at an apartment building in the East Village on Friday morning.

The blaze ignited at about 12:43 a.m. on March 5 on the fourth floor of a five-story dwelling at 337 East 5th St. 

Twelve FDNY units and 60 firefighters responded to the blaze. During the operation, firefighters came across an 80-year-old woman who was found inside the apartment, unconscious and unresponsive, with burns about her body.

EMS units rushed her to Bellevue Hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later. Police have withheld her identity, pending family notification.

Her body was transferred to the Medical Examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death, police reported.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling the East Village blaze, the FDNY noted.

FDNY marshals are now investigating the cause of the inferno.

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