Massive apartment fire leaves dozens homeless

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Massive apartment fire leaves dozens homeless
Five injured in six-alarm fire in Queens

By Patricia Wu

(Queens – WABC, February 4, 2007)

The flames quickly spread between buildings and sent several hundred people out into the street.

It started in an apartment building on Neilson Street in Far Rockaway.

Eyewitness News reporter Patricia Wu joins with the latest.

Kathy Deherrera and her husband are thankful to be alive. They woke up just after midnight. Their apartment building was on fire.

“The more windows popping, more noise, more firemen, more trucks,” one of fire victims, Kathy Deherrera, said. “We decided to leave. We did.”

What a tough job for firefighters. The extreme heat of this six-alarm blaze caused the entire roof of the six-story apartment building to collapse.

It took more than 400 firefighters more than four hours to get this fire under control and they faced one hurdle after another. First a transformer exploded, causing power to be shut off to the building and several others in the area had to be shut off as well to protect the firefighters. (Read More)

Did you read that: there were 400 firefighters on scene. To put that into perspective, that is a small dent in the mere 12,000 or so FDNY firefighters. But if you were to have a fire of that size in the Roanoke Valley; there are only 77 firefighters on duty in the City of Roanoke at a time if no one was off. This is out of 270 total, give or take a few, on payroll. Roanoke County has around 120 career firefighters (I may be off) which would equate to 40 on duty at a time. Salem has around 40 firefighters equating to around 12 on duty at a time. Vinton has around 12 firefighters equating to 4 on duty at a time.

Therefore, on duty the Roanoke Valley has around 134 firefighters on duty at at time totally a total workforce of 442 career firefighters. I realize this doesn’t include the volunteers, which I haven’t the slightest clue on numbers.

So a fire of this capacity might require a total callback of every career firefighter in the Valley. You figure at least 42 of them might not be able to respond.

Just thought I would put that fire into perspective.

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