Early Thursday morning, the American Red Cross was on the scene of a 5-alarm blaze in the Bronx which destroyed a number of buildings and disrupted subway service in both directions.
The fire started shortly after 6:00 AM in a detached garage at 685 E 225th street in the Wakefield section of the Bronx and quickly spread to the surrounding buildings, producing a billowing cloud of thick smoke which was visible for miles.
The Red Cross had an Emergency Response Vehicle in place providing refreshments to nearly 200 firefighters who were working to put out the blaze, as well as to affected residents. It took more than three hours to bring the fire under control.
The majority of the damage was to local businesses on the block, including a hair salon and two delis, but two apartments above the businesses were left uninhabitable and a six-story multi-dwelling building was also impacted and eventually had to be vacated.
A second Red Cross team arrived in the evening to assist those residents who had been ordered to vacate their homes. The team provided comfort kits, snacks, water and food to dozens of affected residents as well as stuffed animals for the children. The Red Cross responders also provided temporary accommodation to five adults and seven children who were unable to return to their homes. Local residents left homeless by the blaze will have the opportunity to meet with Red Cross caseworkers to receive advice on next steps.