Three-Alarm Fire at NYPD Auto Pound Expected to Burn for Days
By M.C. Millman
A raging fire reported at about 10:37 a.m., and escalating into a three-alarm fire in under thirty minutes, is still burning at the waterfront location of the Red Hook Warehouse and the NYPD's Erie Basin facility, which stores biological evidence of crimes.
FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens held a press conference in the early afternoon delineating how the firefighters had to back out of the building due to the overwhelming smoke and flames they encountered upon arrival.
Instead, the fire was fought using exterior tactics, including three marine fireboats.
"It's a deep-seated heavy volume of fire," Hodgens explained, "that is hard to get to the seat of the fire. We are also using drones in the air to pinpoint where we have fires so we can move the boats around to extinguish all the fires possible...This fire is probably going to go on for days before we can fully extinguish it and get inside and get to the deep-seated areas."
More than 150 New York fire department members and EMS battled the flames. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries from the ongoing battle, two EMS volunteers, and two civilians.
NYPD Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, addressed reporters at the press conference as well.
"What we have stored here in particular," Maddrey relayed, "is a lot of biological evidence, e-bikes, motor vehicles, and we do have a few storm vehicles as well. We won't know the severity of the damage inside..Once it's safe, the fire marshals, along with our arsonist and explosion squad, will go in there. They'll start to look and understand the cause of the fire is, and then, of course, our property specialists will be able to go in there and see what's damaged and what can be salvaged."
According to Maddrey, the facility's main purpose was to store evidence, including DNA, and evidence of past crimes such as burglaries and shooting incidents dating back decades.
"This is a very serious and damaging fire," Maddrey continued. "We won't really know the magnitude of what was destroyed in there until we have an opportunity to look at what was in there and see what we can salvage and what was in there.
An itemized list of what exactly was stored in the facility, whose main purpose was to store evidence, will follow once it's safe to go inside.
In the meantime, as it wasn't immediately clear what caused the fire,. There will be an active and ongoing investigation which could very well take some time.
Photos by: Dovid Jaroslawicz