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Queens Chronicle

Flames rip through Jackson Heights

Hundreds witness Plaza College and local offices go up in smoke

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:30 am

A five-alarm fire broke out in the Jackson Heights building that holds Plaza College, several stores and offices on Monday at 5:45 p.m.

The sun was just starting to set as gray smoke billowed out of the third- and fourth-floor windows, swallowing the surrounding area for hours.

Inside, the rooms in the Brunson Building, located at 37th Avenue and 75th Street, were charred to a crisp.

According to the FDNY, three people were injured, including one fireman.

One individual was transported to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing for severe smoke inhalation. The fireman suffered minor burns and a minor was brought to the hospital as a precaution — the child has severe asthma.

While there were no lives taken, the fire ate through several businesses, including Plaza College, which was set to expand into a second building in the coming months.

“This is a devastating fire for our community,” Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) said. “We lost our biggest immigrant service provider, Queens Community House, our LGBT senior center, Plaza College and about 50 small businesses on the ground floor and in the building itself. I have spoken to the business owners, many who I know personally, and the effect on their establishments is truly horrible. Thankfully, there were no fatalities. We will rebuild and come back as a better and stronger Jackson Heights.”

The stubborn fire took hours to put out and fire officials had as many as three hoses shooting water into the structure at a time. They also cut off the building’s gas supply.

The cause of the fire remains unknown but with there being so many offices in the building, there was a lot of combustible material.

Fire officials said the wind also played a major role in spreading the blaze.

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