A massive seven-alarm fire broke out inside the parking garage at the Kings Plaza Shopping Center during the morning hours of Monday, September 17, injuring 21, including three civilians and 18 firefighters.
According to authorities, the fire started on the second floor of the lot at around 8:30 a.m., affecting two of the floors in the garage after multiple vehicles stored by a local car dealer caught fire.
“Units responded and found there to be multiple cars being stored here by a local car dealer, as many as 120,” said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro during a conference outside of the mall. “We are not sure yet how many of them burned, but many of these cars were involved in this fire, creating a huge amount of black smoke confronting our people. Eventually we transmitted seven alarms which brought 250-300 of our members to the scene.” Nigro said that, at the time the press conference was held, the blaze had been “virtually extinguished.”
Nigro also said that FDNY personnel were checking for any sign of structural damage to the garage. Engineers from the city’s Department of Buildings may be brought in if further assessment as to the stability of the structure is necessary, Nigro said.
The injuries sustained are not considered life threatening or critical. All victims are listed as stable.
“Our members have various level of smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Working under those conditions with smoke and this amount of heat, wearing what they wear, one can only imagine what they went through,” Nigro continued. “Right now, we are examining the building, making sure the fire is completely extinguished. It did not extend the stores. It was confined to the second level of the parking garage.”
When asked if the conflagration could have been a case of arson, Nigro said, “It’s too early to even look at that.”
He added that it’s “Common for auto dealers not just around the city but the country to store their vehicles somewhere off their store premises, and they’ve been storing their cars here for quite some time.”
Several witnesses said they heard an explosion but Nigro said that it could have been the result of tires on the multiple vehicles exploding.
The cause of the fire is under investigation