NEW YORK – A two alarm fire broke out in a private home directly across the street from St. Demetrios Cathedral at 9:40 AM and was quickly brought under control on Wednesday morning, July 2.
Flames were shooting out of the top two floors of 30-10 30th Drive, a three story residence, but neighbors told The National Herald that Engine Company 262, the first unit to arrive at the scene, responded quickly.
The fire apparently broke out on the second floor, spread to floor above and was on the verge of engulfing the entire building.
Among those who were saved were two very young children, who were carried out shoeless wearing their pajamas. Neighbors who rushed to help the family brought them footwear.
A fireman on the scene told TNH that the residents first attempted to put out the blaze with a fire hose but quickly realized only the fire department could save them.
Although a danger to homes to its left, the fire apparently was not a threat to the building on the right, a modern office building which is the home of the Hellenic Medical Center.
The firemen said that it was a “serious fire.”
The conflagration, which was out by 10:30 AM, seriously damaged the three story residence that was built in the 1970s. Shortly after calm was restored, a van pulled up marked Restoration and Cleaning Service.
Jake, an employee of the Bay Ridge Brooklyn-based company, which specializes in fire, spoke, water and mold damage, told THN they were called by the family to help with the clean-up and to secure the building.
From the sidewalk the damage to the walls and ceilings of the 2nd and 3rd story rooms could be observed.
People were seen leaving the home with suitcases for the owner’s family. It is not known whether the tenants on the first and third floors had been yet informed about what happened.
THEY SAW FLAMES AND RAN
Brigid lives in the house next door. “I had my window open and I was sleeping. I smelled smoke but I thought it was a bar-b-q,” she told TNH, “but then I heard people shouting ‘a hose, a hose’ and when I looked out the window I saw the fire trucks come.”
She then shouted for her roommate, “and we tried to grab our stuff but, then we saw flames leaping out of the window next door and we ran.”
Katlyn said she was lying in bed half asleep when she heard Brigid yell her name. “I wanted to use the bathroom but I heard her screaming and we just ran.”
When they got outside they said they saw that the whole building was on fire but added “the firemen got here really fast.”
The secretaries and some parishioners from St. Demetrios rushed to help the owner of the house, identified as Eleni Fradelakis, who had sat down on the church’s steps and watched the firefighters battle the flames
The church secretaries called them an “excellent family” and emphasized that Eleni frequently attended the services at the Cathedral.
Her nephew, Andreas Fradelakis, who is a CPA, said the family has roots in Sfakia, Crete and that Eleni was married to Evangelos, of blessed memory, who passed away 1 ½ years ago.
“My aunt and uncle are good Greeks, good family people who did everything to raise and educate their children and grandchildren,” Andreas said.