NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- On a cold, windy evening in the South End of New Rochelle, more than 50 firefighters, most from New Rochelle, some from Yonkers, teamed up to battle a tenacious structure fire for almost two hours while trying to prevent it from taking hold of a neighboring house, They largerly succeeded, knocking down the fire at the first house and containing the first at the second house to the side closest to the first house. The second house suffered some serious damage on the exterior and broken windows throughout the second floor as firefighters worked to get smoke out of the house.
The fire broke out shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.
"A person driving down the street noticed smoke coming from the building and called it in," said NRFD Chief Lou DiMeglio.
Firefighters arrived within 3 minutes. The call soon expanded to a 2nd and then 3rd alarm as mutual aide calls went out to Yonkers, Pelham Manor and other area fire companies.
When firefighters arrived in the scene occupants of the house at 201 Elm Street were on the porch roof. Several were able to escape but one woman was left along on the roof. Firefighters put up a ladder and the woman scrambled down to safety. Initial reports were that the occupants at 201 Elm Street escaped without injury. The house next door, at 197 Elm, is owned by retired NRPD Deputy Commissioner Anthony Murphy, but was not occupied at the time.
Flames totally engulfed the second and third floor of the house at 201 Elm Street, sending flames shooting through the roof as the neighborhood for several blocks around was blanketed with a thick, sooty smog as smoke from the fire billowed out of the house.
No firefighters were injured, said DiMeglio, although some suffered from heat exhaustion.
The cause of the fire was unknown, according to Chief DiMeglio.