Firefighters injured in Labor Day blaze
Seven firefighters were injured on Sept. 7 when A&M Auto Wreckers, a Hunts Point salvage yard at 1360 Randall Avenue, went up in flames. Five responders sustained minor wounds and two received serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to the Fire Department Press Office. FDNY officials labeled the incident “suspicious.”
Later in the week, scorched vehicles still sat along the ash-covered Randall Avenue.
“It started spreading really fast,” said Godson Asarebobai, 32, a warehouse shipper who works half a block from the site. “When the fire started, it gushed out from the facility. And there was two trucks over there, and when it gushed out, that’s when the fire became, you know, more intense.”
A&M, located at 528 Drake Avenue, had been an auto-parts recycler before it began selling pallets to delivery services nearby. Asarebobai said he witnessed the fire worsen when flames spread from pallets stored in the main facility to two semi-trucks parked on the street.
“They have I’d say about four to five to six forklifts, which use propane. So when the fire was getting intense, that’s when we started to hear a little bit of explosions,” he said.
FDNY officials declined to say whether equipment stored inside the compound may have contributed to the fire spreading.
Investigators are still searching for answers to how the fire started on a holiday with no one inside. FDNY had no comment on the investigations but did say any announcements would appear on the @FDNY twitter.
“That place was soaked with oil for so many years”, said Elias Afflade, 53, a truck driver who has worked in the area for over 20 years. Afflade also mentioned the pallets sold at the salvage yard, saying they were stored with “oil all over the floor, the ground.”
“They did their best.” Asarebobai said of the firefighters efforts to contain the blaze. “If they weren’t as diligent in the work that they were doing, it could have affected us.”