Yet another fire in the Rockaways, this one in Belle Harbor


Image source: Alternet – Bruce Bavasso

The Chicago Tribune reports on yet a third fire in the Rockaways as a result of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy – this one in Belle Harbor, a small community on the Rockaway peninsula that gained national attention in November 2001 when American Airlines flight 587 crashed here, killing all aboard and five people on the ground. This community has seen deep grief, and this recent fire was no different.

It was heartbreaking for Bruce Bavasso to watch his home burn – the Breezy Point fire was so much more resource intense. “We watched all the houses burn. The firemen couldn’t come. My BBQ got barbecued.”

More about the fires:

Belle Harbor residents say the first house to light up around 9 p.m. EDT on Monday was on 129th Street. The wind blew the blaze catty-corner to the top of Bavasso’s 100-year-old wood-framed house, one street up. From there, it was a fireball domino, engulfing one house and then the next, and then leaping across the street to torch the Harbor Light Pub.

These fires and their cause are being investigated; it’s not known yet if there were casualties (there were none in Breezy Point). After witnessing the Belle Harbor fires, Mayor Bloomberg said, “To describe it as looking like pictures we’ve seen of the end of World War Two is not overstating it. The area was completely leveled. Chimneys and foundations were all that was left of many of these homes.”

NBC and Matt Lauer went to this neighborhood and produced this video for TODAY. “Whatever wasn’t flooded was on fire.”

Huge fire in Sandy’s wake destroys New York City beach community [Chicago Tribune]
Fires along Rockaway Park, too, thanks to Hurricane Sandy [QNYC]
The continuing woes in Breezy Point [QNYC]