NY Daily News – April 05, 2016
by Rikki Reyna, John Annese
A persistent five-alarm blaze engulfed a Queens dry cleaners, sending heavy smoke billowing into the sky as firefighters struggled with the blaze.
The fire broke out just after 3:40 p.m. at 13th St. and 40th Ave. in Long Island City and burned for nearly five hours before the FDNY brought it under control.
More than 200 firefighters responded, including a hazardous-materials team. A Fire Department spokesman said chemicals from the dry cleaners didn’t pose a threat to the public.
At one point, intense flames forced smoke-eaters to retreat from inside the building and attack the fire from outdoors.
“There was so much smoke, the sky was black. You couldn’t tell where the fire was coming from,” said Billy Moose, who works as a security guard around the corner from the blaze. “And the wind was blowing the smoke four, five blocks away. You couldn’t see anything.”
The blaze spread to an adjoining furniture factory, causing minor damage, the FDNY spokesman said. Sunday’s heavy winds didn’t fan the flames.
Two smoke-eaters suffered minor injuries, according to the fire flack. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.
Though firefighters brought the blaze under control just before 8:30 p.m., the FDNY plans to keep one ladder company and one engine company truck at the scene throughout the night.
The owner of DDK Procleaners could not be reached for comment. Moose said he “felt bad” for him.
“He’s had that business for several years, and now all those people don’t have work. He had a lot of staff and now the building is just completely gone,” Moose said. “It was a bad thing to see. My eyes are still burning from the soot.”
Later Sunday, fires broke out in Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side, according to reports. The Manhattan blaze, on W. 72nd St. appeared to be under control early Monday, but no other details were available.
Firefighters tackled a third fire at 640 Parkside Ave. in Brooklyn’s Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The five-alarm fire raged throughout the building for about five hours before it was under control by 4 a.m., according to officials.
The building that burned was home to a catering company with a commercial kitchen that provides school lunches, area residents said.