Community Seeks to Help Red Hook Family Displaced by Fire

By Nikhita Venugopal on April 3, 2014 9:51am 

Slideshow
 Idalia Quinones, 40, and her four sons were displaced from their apartment in Red Hook Houses West after a fire raged through the building on March 30.
Fire at Red Hook Houses West
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RED HOOK — An early Sunday morning fire in Red Hook left 11 residents injured, two firefighters hurt and Idalia Quinones without a home.

Quinones, 40, and her four sons lost their kitchen, living and dining rooms after the blaze broke out from an electrical panel on March 30 at 75 Bush St., and spread through the six-story New York City Housing Authority building, she and officials said.

“I’m just shaken up,” she said. “I haven’t slept.”

Quinones, who is not currently working, had lived in the destroyed three-bedroom apartment for four years and has been a Red Hook resident in NYCHA buildings for almost 18, she said.

Since the incident, Quinones and her four sons, ages 19, 15, 9 and a 16-year-old foster child, have been moved to a temporary two-bedroom NYCHA apartment, she said. 

Still, they have few possessions, clothes or even furniture to make any space a home.

The family lacks sheets, blankets, pillows, pots, pans, dishes, food, toiletry items and clothes, the Red Hook Star-Revue first reported.

The newspaper, along with the Red Hook Community Justice Center, is coordinating donations, which will be given to Lillie Marshall, president of the Red Hook West Tenants Association to ensure everything reaches the family, the Star-Revue reported

The Red Cross has provided a one-night hotel voucher as well as money for food and some blankets, according to a representative from the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Community groups like Women in Touch and Visitation Church have also assisted the family.

Most items in her bedroom were in good condition, building management told Quinones, but she has not be allowed to revist her former home yet, she said.

“I just want to be able to go back in [to the old apartment] and get back our belongings,” she said.

Quinones said the family would be moved to another larger public housing apartment in Red Hook on Friday.

Quinones was sleeping in her bedroom around 6 a.m. on March 30 when she awoke as the blaze began to spread through her building in Red Hook Houses West, a part of Brooklyn’s largest public housing complex.

The father of her 9-year-old son, who was visiting and sleeping in the living room, noticed the rising heat in the apartment and alerted Quinones.

Quinones said she opened her door, saw the smoke and began to scream.

“I started panicking,” she said.

The crash of breaking glass in the kitchen sounded as if someone were trying to break into the apartment, which Quinones and her family were attempting to escape, she said.

They rushed into the building’s hallway – with no shoes or extra clothes — and called 911.
Quinones said it felt like she was having an anxiety attack.

“I couldn’t move,” she said.

The flames broke out at 6:37 a.m. on the fourth floor of the Bush Street building, officials previously told DNAinfo New York. 

The fire, which caused mostly minor injuries and left one man seriously hurt, was under control at 7:07 a.m. after a water supply issue, according to the FDNY.

Officials said the hydrant closest to the blaze was non-functional and water was relayed from a different one.

An FDNY spokesman said the fire was caused from an electrical panel.

Specific clothing sizes are Size 9/10 and large shirts for Quinones, size 10/12 for the 9-year-old child, 40-inch waist pants and XXL shirts for the 15-year-old, 32-inch waist pants and medium shirts for the 16-year-old and 28-inch waist pants and XXL shirts for the 19-year-old.

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