A fire broke out at a Williston Park apartment complex Wednesday afternoon at about 1:35 p.m., causing much of Willis Avenue to be shut down while firefighters rushed to the scene.
The fire was contained in apartment 1K at the apartment complex at 590 Willis Avenue. The two occupants of the apartment managed to escape, but smoke filled the entire first floor of the building, causing all of the apartments to be evacuated.
“When I hit that first floor, smoke was so thick it was like putting your hand over your eyes,” one firefighter said.
Fire companies from Williston Park, East Williston, Albertson, Mineola and Garden City Park responded to the scene with eight fire trucks and 70 firefighters. Willis Avenue was closed from Winthrop Street northward past Goodrich Street until shortly after 3:30 p.m.
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The fire was contained to one room of the apartment and one of the reports indicated that it may have been started by a lamp in either the bedroom or living room.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze at about 1:45 p.m.
Williston Park First Assistant Chief John Perro Jr. said that there was the “possibility of a lamp that had a problem but I can’t confirm that,” as the fire is under investigation.
According to Third Precinct detectives, the female resident, 90, who was waiting outside, stated that she had put a new light bulb in a lamp and when she returned several minutes later she discovered her curtains on fire.
No sprinkler systems exist in the apartment complex as they are reportedly over 50 years old. Fire crews had to stretch hoses from hydrants on Willis Avenue and surrounding blocks to battle the blaze.
No injuries were reported, though one cat perished in the blaze.
This is a breaking news story. Patch will update this story when more details become available.