Fire kills 3, injures 4 others
by Holly Tsang
Nov 11, 2009 | 2034 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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42-40 65th Street in Woodside, where a basement fire claimed the lives of three.
The fire department responded early Saturday morning to a fire that originated in the illegally subdivided basement of a house in Woodside. The blaze, which was called in at 2:45 a.m., claimed the lives of three men and injured four other people, said fire department spokesman Jim Long.

FDNY’s usage of the Unified Call Taking (UCT) system has come under attack as a result of the dispatcher mistyping the address of the blaze as 42-40 62nd Street instead of the correct address of 42-40 65th Street.

The average fire response time in Queens is 4 minutes 13 seconds. Long said even though the response time for this particular incident has been cited as 4 minutes 55 seconds, 4 minute 30 seconds is more accurate because another fire company had arrived first on the scene.

“It’s unfortunate what happened here, but it’s not the system, it’s a human error. Despite the human error, we were still there in under five minutes,” said Long. “The things that would’ve saved these people are working fire detectors and if the basement hadn’t been illegally subdivided, among other factors.”

Yong Min Seo, a freelance designer who lives several houses away, woke up to the sound of blaring sirens and the glare of flashing lights.

Out of a second floor back window, he was able to see smoke and flames. He said the fire looked really small, probably because it was primarily contained to the basement.

“I looked out the window and firemen were trying to break down the doors,” said Min. “I heard someone yell ‘Come on! Come on!’ I thought it was a neighborhood fight.”

Several neighbors were questioned, but all claimed not to know the owner.

The owner of the two-story wood-frame house, Subir Barua, remains hospitalized in critical condition. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Who should be held accountable for the deaths in this tragedy?


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