Second-Alarm Fire Guts Councilman's Sister's Apartment

By DNAinfo Staff on December 11, 2011 9:30am  | Updated on December 11, 2011 11:28am

Fire gutted an apartment on Sherman Avenue, near Academy Street on Dec. 11, 2011, which belonged to the sister of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.
Fire gutted an apartment on Sherman Avenue, near Academy Street on Dec. 11, 2011, which belonged to the sister of City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez.
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DNAinfo/Sonja Sharp

By Sonja Sharp and Tom Liddy

DNAinfo Reporters

MANHATTAN — A roaring blaze tore through an Inwood apartment Sunday morning where City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's sister lives, officials and relatives said.

The second-alarm fire on the fifth floor of the building on Sherman Avenue, near Academy Street, left the apartment gutted, but miraculously, no one was hurt.

"My nephew was awakened by the smoke detector," Rodriguez told DNAinfo. "The most important thing is that nobody got hurt because the smoke detector was working."

The fire started in a bedroom at 8:18 a.m. and soon grew to second alarm. Flames extended into the buildings cockloft, the space between the top floor and the roof, officials said.

Rodriguez's nephew, Claudio Garcia, 27, was awoken by the smoke detector and went through the house to help get everyone else out, including his cancer-stricken grandfather, who was in the bedroom where the fire started.

While he was reaching for his cellphone, he suffered minor burns on his hand.

"I was reaching for my cellphone and the fire got me," he said.

It took 106 firefighters from 25 units nearly an hour to bring the blaze under control.

Garcia and his family plan to stay with his sister in another apartment in the building.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

A 2nd alarm fire broke out on Sherman Avenue, near Academy Street, on Dec. 11, 2011.
A 2nd alarm fire broke out on Sherman Avenue, near Academy Street, on Dec. 11, 2011.
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DNAinfo/Jon Schuppe

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