Video report below
NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- An early morning two-alarm fire in New Rochelle left five people homeless today. There were no reports of civilian or fire fighter injuries although fire fighter had trouble with smoke inhalation. He was checked by EMS on scene and released.
New Rochelle Fire Department responded to a call of an electrical fire at 5:50 a.m. Monday morning at 55 Kress Avenue. First on the scene was Ladder 12 which reported a 10-75 alarm of fire, a fire in the attic area of the roof. Flames were through the roof of the three-family house. Five people living in the house evacuated themselves safely.
The call was made to the fire department by a resident in the house.
"My daughter smelled smoke and woke me up," said Phyllis Simpson. "The lights were flickering and I could hear a crackling noise. I told my daughter to grab the baby and get out."
Two residents were not home at the time of the fire. In all, five people, including the baby, were left homeless. Red Cross was called to the scene to assist people displaced by the fire.
At 6:02 a.m., Fire Chief Lou DiMeglio put out a call for a second alarm.
"It was a very stubborn fire," said DiMeglio. "We had trouble getting tools and equipment up to the third floor".
All New Rochelle fire units were called to the scene with the mask unit and a request for mutual aid to cover New Rochelle. Joining Ladder 12 at the scene were Engine Companies 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and Ladder Companies 11 and 13 along with car 2302 and a ambulance. Out and units from the area covering New Rochelle fire stations were an unspecified Yonkers Engine, Ladder and Chief went to cover New Rochelle Station 1, White Plains Engine 71 and Eastchester Ladder 15 covered Station.
At 6:19 a.m., Chief DiMeglio reported all visible fire had been knocked down and all companies were holding at the scene.
Chief DiMeglio described the fire as "labor intensive". Firefighters had difficulty with heavy doors leading up to the attic area, a low crawl space below the roof. There were no stairs or ladder so a ladder had to be brought in to gain access to the attic from below. Firefighters gained access from above on a ladder from Ladder 12. Once on the roof, firefighters cut a hole in the roof.
The fire was declared "under control" at 7:04 a.m.