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Double Yonkers Fires Injure Two, Displace 20

The fire rages in a multifamily home at 164 Beech St. Photo Credit: Contributed by David Dronzek
Yonkers firefighters battle a fire in a multifamily home at 164 Beech St. Photo Credit: Contributed by David Dronzek
Yonkers firefighters struggled to get hoses hooked up in icy conditions. Photo Credit: Contributed by the Red Cross
A displaced Beech Tree resident watches the firefighters at work, wrapped in a blanket provided by the Red Cross. Photo Credit: Contributed by the Red Cross

YONKERS, N.Y. -- Twenty people are displaced and two people injured after twin fires raged in Yonkers Tuesday night , destroying an apartment and a multifamily home.

The first, a three-alarm fire reported at 6:50 p.m., occurred on the seventh floor of a multi-story apartment building at 461 Riverdale Avenue, fire officials said.

Two adult males in their 30s were rescued by the Yonkers Fire Department from their apartment as the fire spread around them.

They were transported to Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx with what fire officials believed to be "probably non life-threatening injuries."

Mutual aid  was provided by Hartsdale, New Rochelle, Eastchester, Mount Vernon and Fairview.

Carolyn Sherwin, spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said Yonkers OEM identified next door Peter Chema Community Center and temporarily lodged residents there to keep them warm.

"No one was really sure if they could go in or not. After a building inspection which took place two hours after the fire had been extinguished, all residents were allowed back in," she said.

However, just as everyone began packing up to go home, the second fire was alerted.

The four-alarm inferno began at 9:30 p.m., destroying a three-story multifamily home located on 164 Beech Street.

The fire spread to all three floors and one room in the basement.

Six families, 20 people in total, were evacuated. Multiple people were removed from upper floors via ladders, according to fire officials.

According to Sherwin, the Yonkers Police Emergency Services Unit Director called and requested the police department's Mass Evacuation Transportation Unit to contain those affected by the fire.

The harsh icy conditions caused hydrants and fire hoses to freeze, according to ABC-7.

No one was seriously hurt, though nine firefighters suffered minor injuries and exhaustion after officials said many of them had also responded to the earlier fire, the report said.

Sherwin said 15 of the 20 were provided lodging and funds for lost items by the Red Cross. The others found shelter with family friends and will be meeting with case workers on Wednesday morning.

"It was an extreme night," Sherwin said. "So much credit goes to Yonkers Emergency Services, police, fire and OEM, who worked side by side with the Red Cross from start until 2:30 in the morning."

No cause has been identified for either fire.

The smallest victims of the fires were two little chihuahuas, who were immediately wrapped in Red Cross blankets and taken to safety, according to Sherwin.

"Without Yonkers Emergency Services, we could not do what we did last night. We have a wonderful side-by-side partnership taking care of the residents of Yonkers," she said.

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