A huge fire in New York City that forced hundreds to move was started by someone using a blowtorch to remove paint

A construction worker using a block torch to remove paint inadvertently sparked a five-alarm fire in New York City’s Sunnyside, Queens, causing injuries to 14 people and displacing over 400 residents temporarily. The incident unfolded on the top floor of a six-story building around noon on Wednesday, as reported by the New York City Fire Department (FDNY).

The FDNY revealed that the contractor was employing a torch to heat lead paint off a metal closet door frame in a vacant apartment when smoke emerged unexpectedly. Efforts to extinguish the flames proved futile, prompting the FDNY response. Upon inspection, the FDNY captain observed charred wooden studs, indicating the fire had spread within the walls. Evacuation orders followed, and it was soon discovered that the fire had reached the roof.

Over 130 firefighters, including one injured in the process, responded to the scene. A firefighter was transported to the hospital in serious but stable condition, according to an FDNY spokesperson. Several residents also sustained minor injuries, with some being hospitalized.

The aftermath left approximately 450 residents displaced, prompting the Red Cross to provide assistance to those affected by the incident. The incident underscores the unforeseen consequences that can arise from routine construction activities and emphasizes the importance of safety precautions in such endeavors.