Queens Fire Kills 50 Injures 30
Date April 9, 2010
Relevant Logs Up In Smoke

By Madeleine Hart
Times Staff Writer

QUEENS — Fifty-two people were killed and more than 30 were injured as a result of a fire that raged through the Cliffside Apartment Building in Long Island City on Friday night. The building was destroyed by the blaze, displacing 113 residents.

In addition to deaths and injuries caused by the fire itself, five firefighters were killed and four more were injured when two engines responding to the call collided just outside of the apartment building. Captain Danny O'Brian, 32, was listed in critical condition and not expected to survive.

The heat of the blaze also set off one residents' cache of ammunition, peppering the crowd of onlookers and rescuers, hitting several people. Twelve were killed and at least five more were injured. The exact number of injuries caused by the fire and the exploding ammunition are not known due to the fact many of the victims refused medical treatment.

The building's collapse nearly caused the death of the building's owner, Emanuel "Manny" Chavez, age 48, but he was rescued by an evolved man, Magnes Varlane, 22, who can manipulate gravity.

"I don't know it all happened so fast," Chavez said of the disaster. "One minute I was showing a girl around a new apartment, then next minute smoke was everywhere. By the time we made it to the stairs, fire all around. I could not see, breathe, so hot. I have not been so scared since the bomb, and that was a very bad thing. This? This was horrible."

"I was there and I did what I had to do," Varlane said as he awaited treatment for burns sustained while rescuing Chavez and others.
Due to inclement weather causing delays in traffic, the fire department was not able to respond to the scene until about 30 minutes after the first 9-1-1 calls were made by the residents at 8:30 p.m.

"It's an tragic and unfortunate loss of life that didn't need to happen. I lost my friends. My brothers," Battalion Chief Ron Dennison said. He added that the fire department did everything according to protocol and training. "These delays were unavoidable. There's nothing we could have done better. This is a tragedy that is directly caused by whoever is responsible for this weather."

The cause of the fire is yet unknown but Dennison said the fire department would be investigating the cause. Anyone who has information regarding the origin of the fire is asked to call the Fire Department at (347) 555-2391.

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