Skip to comments.NYC Blaze Called Biggest Since WTC Attack (Photos: Itís huge!)
Posted on 05/02/2006 2:44:56 PM PDT by dead
23 minutes ago
NEW YORK - A raging fire laid waste to a complex of seven old warehouses on Brooklyn's waterfront on Tuesday, sending a huge plume of acrid smoke over Brooklyn that evoked memories of the World Trade Center attacks nearly five years ago.
Shortly after the walls of one five-story brick warehouse collapsed, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said the cause of the 9-alarm fire would be investigated as possible arson.
"We're calling it suspicious in origin," he said in a street news conference two blocks from the scene. "The buildings were fully involved with fire when the first units arrived. That plus the fact that it started early in the morning are indications of a suspicious fire."
Eighty units and more than 400 firefighters joined the battle, using several tower ladders on three street sides while five fireboats pumped water on the flames from the East River, a technique the department calls "surround and drown."
More than 6 million gallons of water were poured on the blaze, Scoppetta said, and the fire was "holding but not under control" by noon, more than six hours after it erupted. The ninth alarm was posted about an hour later.
Scoppetta and Chief of Department Peter Hayden said eight firefighters had suffered minor injuries but no civilians were hurt, nor was there any need to evacuate the area. Scoppetta identified the warehouse owner as Joshua Guttman, but had no other information.
John Mulligan, a department spokesman, said the fire was the biggest, exclusive of the World Trade Center, since a 19-alarm fire at Brooklyn's St. George Hotel in 1995. He said the WTC disaster was so large that the department quit counting alarms.
The site is on the waterfront in Brooklyn's Greenpoint neighborhood, a mixture of 19th century and small shipping and manufacturing firms. The famed Civil War ironclad, USS Monitor, was built in a shipyard that adjoined the warehouse property. The nearest homes are at least a block away.
The flames were clearly visible from the east side of Manhattan, where rubberneckers slowed morning rush hour traffic on the FDR Drive past the United Nations buildings. The acrid smoke, smelling at times of wood, rose in a huge black cloud visible for miles.
The fire started just after 5:30 a.m. and blazed furiously for six hours. At midmorning, the partial collapse of the largest of the seven warehouses caused utility wires to tug on nearby poles, one of which vibrated as if about to split. The crashing brick walls left only the corners of the five-story building still standing. Flames also spread to a storage lot where at least one rental truck was destroyed.
Area residents, watching from behind yellow tape, said the warehouses were destined to be torn down, for a park or other development. Some parts of Brooklyn's long-neglected waterfront have been targeted for new housing or other purposes.
"They're going to save a lot of money on demolition," said Yuda Geller, a real estate agent who lives in Greenpoint.
"A block away, you could feel the heat," said Filip Mielnicki, 17, a neighbor watching the blaze with his friend, 18-year-old Wojciech Wasilewski.
The two, students at Manhattan's High School for Environmental Studies, said they had often "hung out" in the warehouse that caved in. It contained a lot of old clothing and boxes of blank checks but was otherwise unused, Mielnicki said.
They, among others, remarked on the smoke cloud's resemblance to the pillar that drifted across Brooklyn for two days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center's twin towers.
Fire officials said the warehouse complex on West Street between Quay and Noble streets measuring 200 feet by 800 feet was officially unoccupied, though it was unclear whether squatters were living there. Bales of cloth burned in one of the warehouses, Scoppetta said.
Have they ruled out terrorism yet?
Most important - was Chelsea Clinton there?
I'd look first to whoever held insurance policies on them, next to neighborhood homeless chefs, and lastly to kids with matches.
I think I would rule out insurance fraud first.
"Have they ruled out terrorism yet?"
You would think terrorists would want a higher profile target than old warehouses but who knows.
"It was a bit spooky seeing the huge smoke clouds over NYC again this morning."
Yes, we could see it from Jersey City.
re: my post #5.
I gotta work on the typing skills.
I had a studio 3 blocks from the harbor in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn a long time ago. The food shopping was wonderful. Great Italian.
Lots of beautiful old buildings there. Brooklyn is a great place. Lots of nice people there.
Arson in Brooklyn? Naw...
It was Trump
Have they ruled out the mob?
I think she was jogging nearby.
That's more than cloth and blank checks burning there. Although the smoke doesn't have the dark greasy look of petroleum products burning either.
Have they ruled out the mob?
In Brooklyn? Naw...
"Have they ruled out the mob?"
I wonder what they were insured for....
Those looked like perfect spots for new condos that could be serviced by a nice water taxi into Manhatten.
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