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12 hospitalized, including baby, after massive fire rips through three Brooklyn homes

Posted at 4:44 AM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 17:24:35-04

MIDWOOD, Brooklyn — A massive four-alarm fire torched three Brooklyn homes and sent 12 people to the hospital early Thursday, including a baby, fire officials said.

The call for the Midwood fire came in just after 4 a.m. with units arriving in under five minutes, Chief of Fire Operations Thomas Richardson said during a news conference Thursday morning.

Fire officials do not know how the fire started, and fire marshals remained on the scene investigating Thursday morning.

Surveillance footage obtained by PIX11 from a neighboring home shows what appears to be the moment the fire started, which can be seen below.

In the surveillance video it appears a sudden explosion might have sparked the fire, and a person appears to run away from the flames. It's unclear if that person is a suspect.

Philippe Niam, a neighbor who witnessed the fire, said that around 3:30 a.m. his wife smelled smoke and woke him up. He said they heard children screaming "Help! Help!"

Four civilians and one firefighter suffered minor injuries, including smoke inhalation, Chief of EMS Operations Lillian Bonsignore said. One of those injured was a baby, Bonsignore said.

Fire officials later told PIX11 that nine civilians and three firefighters were hospitalized. At least seven people have been displaced, officials added.

When firefighters arrived at the home where the blaze began at 1488 E. 17th St., the fire had spread to the two neighboring homes on either side, Richardson said. The home where the fire originated already had extensive damage when firefighters arrived, he said.

"I saw the three houses on fire," a neighbor said. He said a family with six children lives in the home where the fire started and that he saw them got out safely.

"Everybody went out from the back. They couldn't get out from the front because the fire took from the front door," he said.

All of the people in the home where the fire started are accounted for, officials confirmed.

Richardson said 40 fire units and 25 EMS units responded, with 170 firefighters helping to put out the flames.

Watch the full FDNY news conference on the fire below: