Volume 75, Number 34 | January 11 - 17, 200

King St. fire sends tenants fleeing; unclear when they can return to their homes

<<Villager photo by Brett C Vermilyea
Firefighters battled a three-alarm blaze in Hudson Square on Monday.

By Tonya Garcia

A three-alarm fire broke out in a residential building in Hudson Square at King and Varick Sts. on Jan. 9, causing heavy damage and the relocation of the building’s tenants, according to a Fire Department official.

The fire started at about 2 p.m. in a third-floor rear apartment at 22 King St., said Deputy Assistant Chief Ronald Spadafora. Firefighters responding to the call had a “tough time opening apartments,” said Spadafora, and were “chasing” the fire as it moved vertically through the plumbing to the top of the building. Officials are investigating how the fire started and the extent of the damage.

Residents of the building were sent fleeing on fire escapes and to the roof as smoke gathered in the hallway. “I didn’t even leave the top floor,” said Dennis Lane, 60, a 35-year resident of the building. Lane happened to be on his way out when he heard the fire alarm. “I got to the stairs and couldn’t even see the bottom,” he said. “So I went to the fire door, to the roof, and the Fire Department was already there.” Lane, who walks with a cane, managed to make it to the street safely by exiting through an adjoining building.

Black smoke billowing from the fire could be seen for blocks. “I came from the south and all I saw was my building on fire,” said Demetri Martin, 32, who couldn’t get into his apartment, but could see the firefighters’ hose running through his bedroom window from the sidewalk in front.

The Red Cross was on hand to offer assistance to the displaced residents. It’s unclear how long it will be before residents can return to their homes. There were no civilian injuries, but one firefighter hurt his knee trying to get the blaze under control.

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