published Sunday, February 20th, 2011

1 dead, 20 firefighters hurt in NYC apartment fire

NEW YORK — More than 20 firefighters were injured as they battled for seven hours to extinguish a wind-fueled blaze that killed a woman in a Brooklyn apartment house and forced other residents to flee into the winter chill, officials said Sunday.

The body of Mary Feagin, 64, was found in the rubble of the six-floor apartment building Saturday, according to a New York City Police Department spokesman. The fire in the Flatbush neighborhood started just before 7 p.m. Saturday, fanned by wind gusts of more than 50 mph.

“This was bad because of the wind,” Fire Chief Edward Kilduff told the Daily News. “We had to evacuate very quickly because basically the fire chased us right down the hall and down the stairs.“

More than 20 firefighters and four residents suffered minor injuries, fire officials said. None was life-threatening.

About 200 firefighters were called to the scene, where they eventually found the woman dead.

Another sixth-floor resident, Shavan Agard, told the newspaper that he smelled smoke while giving his 2-month-old daughter a bath. He said he opened the front door of his apartment and faced a smoke-filled hallway, then scooped up his baby and carried her to safety.

Other residents fled so fast that they left behind pets and all their belongings, the newspaper said.

Fire officials said the wind acted like a blowtorch, fanning the flames through the building. Two firefighters were pulled from the scorching structure with burns.

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