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Brooklyn Criminal Court quickly reopens despite fire that injured eight

May 11, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Criminal Court, located at 120 Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn, was open on Thursday despite a fire that injured eight court officers on Wednesday. © Google Maps 2017
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A fire broke out at the Kings County Criminal Court which led to an evacuation of the entire building and injuries to eight court officers, according to the FDNY.

The criminal court, a 10-story building located at 120 Schermerhorn St. in Downtown Brooklyn, caught fire at approximately 4:04 p.m., according to FDNY officials. Officials said that it took roughly one hour and 40 minutes for the fire department, including about 60 firefighters, to get everything under control.

The blaze, which started on the sixth floor, caused seven people to go to the hospital for smoke inhalation and two more needed to be treated on the scene.

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Officials think that the fire started in a storage room on the sixth floor, but the cause is unknown. Fortunately, court was not in session in the nearest courtroom which helped keep injuries to a minimum.

“The room itself was totally demolished, you could see it was totally burnt out including a refrigerator that literally melted,” said Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the court. “It was an intense fire. The fire department did an excellent job, they contained it in a relatively short time.”

The court spokesman said that workers were able to clean up the mess after firefighters put out the flames to keep the courthouse open for arraignments on Wednesday night. The courthouse was business as usual by Thursday, with the exception of the sixth floor, which will be shut down indefinitely.

“They worked throughout the night to clean up and vent the building,” Chalfen said. “It was a serious fire, but a good fire department knows how to fight it and contain it. Good work by the people who responded.”

Court personnel who spoke to the Brooklyn Eagle said that it was actually a fortunate occurrence that the fire happened when it did, suggesting that if it happened at a different time, people could have been in the courtroom next door, or the building could have burned down entirely if it had happened in the middle of the night.

“This is why those of us in my job are thankful every day for our officers,” said Justice Matthew Sciarrino.


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