Voodoo Candles Blamed for Deadly Five-Alarm Blaze in Brooklyn
Friday, February 25, 2011 - 02:05 PM
A fatal five-alarm fire that tore through a Flatbush, Brooklyn, apartment building last Saturday was caused by candles used in a voodoo ceremony, according to a FDNY officials.
The candlelit ceremony began on the floor of an apartment in the building after a Brooklyn woman paid a male resident $300 to conduct a voodoo ceremony for good luck, according to officials.
The fire began around 6:40 p.m. and ignited bed clothes and linen. The man conducting the ceremony did not immediately call 911 and tried to douse the flame with water from the bathroom. The FDNY said other occupants of the building opened windows to let out the accumulating smoke, allowing the strong winds gusting that day to fuel the flames.
A 64-year-old woman died and three civilians were injured in the blaze, which left more than 100 people homeless.
"Hopefully others will learn from this tragedy,” said Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano in a statement.
The investigation is ongoing because of a dispute over delays in firefighters arriving on the scene.
The firefighter's union is blaming staff cuts at the FDNY for the delay, which they say allowed the fire to get out of control. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg denies that budget cuts played a role and said dispatching errors allowed the fire to get out of control.
It took more than 200 firefighters and 44 companies to extinguish the fire.