A fire today at 106-10 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park started with an explosion, according to nearby residents. They say the long-abandoned building has been a haven for drug addicts and squatters, and they are not surprised at what happened.
The NYPD and FDNY were still on the scene about one hour later as residents had come out of their apartments to watch the drama unfold in front of the two-story building, which up until about two years ago housed Better Homes Depot, they said.
According to the FDNY, the all-hands fire started at 11:16 a.m. on the second floor of the building and was brought under control at 11:41 a.m. Twelve units and 60 firefighters responded to the scene. One firefighter was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, but a spokeswoman for the FDNY did not have further details on his condition.
The building had visible smoke damage and the windows on the second floor in both the front and back had been blown out. There were shards of black glass all over the sidewalk. The FDNY said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.