Cypress Hills

Cypress Hills fire injures 4; destroys homes, churches, businesses

January 22, 2019 By Todd Maisel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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A five-alarm fire devastated a row of stores and the homes of 15 families on Atlantic Avenue in Cypress Hills on Saturday morning.

Four injuries were reported, including three firefighters and one resident. None of the injuries were considered life threatening.

The fire broke out shortly after 10 a.m. at 2681 Atlantic Ave., in the basement of an appliance store, according to fire officials. The flames quickly spread through building recesses and voids all the way to the roof, bringing in more than 100 firefighters to battle the flames and heavy smoke.

Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in two hours, but by then the damage to the homes, stores and two connecting buildings was severe. Among the damaged businesses were Global Enterprises, a supplier of commercial restaurant equipment, and Mercedes Hair Salon. Two churches were also severely damaged.

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The fire chief walks through debris from the Atlantic Avenue fire.

Mercedes Rodriguez, owner of Mercedes Hair Salon, watched with her family as firefighters went through the debris of her 20-year business.

“It’s unbelievable — I don’t know what to say,” Rodriguez said as her daughter, Alexandria Sanchez, comforted her. “I put my life into the business and now look at it. What am I going to do now?”

Pedro Esteves, a three-year resident of one of the affected buildings, said that while his apartment is somewhat off to the side of the main damage, he was not yet allowed to re-enter to retrieve his property.

“I expect most of my things will be wet, and I’m sure my television will be in bad shape, but at least I should be able to get some of my things,” Esteves said.

Members of the Red Cross were on scene assisting homeless residents with relocation to hotels in the community.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, and officials said it was difficult for fire marshals to enter the building because of unsafe conditions.

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