Updated: Feb. 17, 2023, 9:05 p.m. | Published: Feb. 17, 2023, 1:56 p.m.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y — Twenty FDNY members were hurt, three seriously, when a home partially collapsed as firefighters were battling a raging blaze in Annadale Friday afternoon, officials said.
The inferno sent thick black smoke billowing into the sky, which was visible for miles. The smell of ash was also noticeably detectable in the area.
The blaze broke out at a home on Shotwell Avenue near Tryon Avenue just before 1:30 p.m., spread to the semi-attached residence next to it and quickly escalated into a fourth alarm, according to an official from the FDNY press office, triggering a massive emergency response that included 200 firefighters.
Officials believe the blaze broke out in the rear of 84 Shotwell and spread to 88, FDNY Deputy Chief Brian Gorman told reporters at the scene, but it still remains under investigation.
As firefighters were inside, part of the rear of 84 Shotwell collapsed, Gorman said.
One firefighter was rescued from the front window, while a lieutenant was rescued on the second floor.
Three firefighters were taken to Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze with serious injuries. Seventeen other FDNY members suffered minor injuries.
All three were alert and conscious at the hospital, the FDNY said.
“Thankfully, the preliminary reports are that all injured personnel will be OK, though with some injuries,” Councilman Joe Borelli (R-South Shore) said on social media. “No civilians were injured.”
The fire was brought under control at 2:46 p.m., the FDNY said.
Charred homes at 88 and 84 Shotwell remained in its wake.
One neighbor who spoke with the Advance/SILive.com said firefighters got there in “two seconds.”
He described a frenzied scene as the inferno intensified.
“It was extreme,” he said. “When the floor collapsed, flames shot up out of the house.”
He said he saw a firefighter running back down the ladder out of the house after the collapse.
‘AT LEAST MY FLAG IS STILL STANDING’
Vincent Pellizzi, who has lived at 84 Shotwell for 43 years, said he and his wife were out shopping when the blaze broke out and his son, 29, was home.
He said his son saw flames coming out from the back, between the two houses.
“I imagine everything is gone,” he said of his residence. “You can see through the back of the house.”
But he pointed to the American flag displayed from the second-floor porch at the front of the home, which somehow survived the flames.
“At least my flag is still flying,” he said.
The Pellizzis escaped with their dog Chewie, a 6-year-old shih tzu. The residents of 88 Shotwell got out of their home as well.
The Red Cross was on the scene helping tend to the residents.
The peal of fire engine sirens could be heard from all corners of Staten Island in the early afternoon, as FDNY units boroughwide raced to the scene.
Thick smoke could be seen billowing from the home, creating a haze on Shotwell Avenue that FDNY members were forced to work through.
“The whole block was full of smoke, you could not see anything,” said another resident.
The city’s Notify NYC alert system advised area residents to close their windows.
A woman who lived a few doors down from the fire said she stepped outside and immediately smelled smoke and ash.
This is a developing story and further information will be posted as it becomes available.
FDNY officials respond to a blaze on Shotwell Avenue in Annadale on Friday, Feb. 17, 2023. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)