Massive fire damages 3 homes in Yonkers

Posted: Updated:
YONKERS -

A raging fire damaged three homes in Yonkers on Wednesday night.

Fire crews responded to 781 Warburton Ave. around 8 p.m., where flames were seen shooting out of the roof of the two-story, wood frame, multi-family apartment building.  The rear walls of the building eventually collapsed into the backyard.

The fire quickly went to a two-alarm fire as flames began to spread to the multi-family house next door at 779 Warburton Ave. The heat was so intense it began to melt the siding on the house at 783 Warburton Ave.

The blaze promoted a massive response with over 55 firefighters from Yonkers and New Rochelle, emergency crews and equipment.

All the residents were able to get out of the building safely, but 10 firefighters were taken to hospitals with minor injuries.

The fire was declared under control at 11:31 p.m., but firefighters were still on the scene Thursday morning putting out hot spots.

The houses at 781 Warburton Ave. and 779 Warburton Ave. were destroyed, and the house at 783 Warburton Ave. suffered some fire and water damage.

Neighbors expressed worry and concern for the well-being of those who live in the affected homes. "When I came outside, I saw the two houses up in flames, my main concern is that everybody got out alive," says Darlene Braswell.

Water used to douse the flames caused problems on Metro-North's Hudson Line Thursday morning. The tracks are right behind the homes, just down a steep hill, and they became covered with a mudslide due to the fire runoff. Officials say there was no northbound service out of the Greystone or Glenwood stations for much of the morning. Service was restored around 10 a.m.

The water runoff also caused concern that the foundations of two of the buildings have been partially washed away, and there is worry about the structures collapsing down the steep hill toward the railroad tracks. Inspectors from the Building Department were on scene to determine the stability of all the buildings.

About 12 families were displaced in the three affected buildings. Eight additional families at 777 Warburton Ave. and 785 Warburton Ave. could also not stay overnight pending Building Department evaluation in the of the stability of the ground in the rear yards. 

Warburton Avenue is expected to be closed between Odell Avenue and Arthur Street until Friday morning.

Firefighters have yet to determine the cause of the fire, but say the damage is so severe that two of the houses will have to be demolished.

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