Rescuers recovered the body of a firefighter nearly 24 hours after a huge fire at a New York assisted-living facility Tuesday left one resident dead and others injured, officials said Wednesday.
Clarkstown supervisor George Hoehmann said the identity of the “wonderful volunteer firefighter who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to others” would be revealed at a news conference later.
The firefighter was the second casualty in the blaze that broke out around 1 a.m. Tuesday at Evergreen Court Home For Adults in Spring Valley, about 30 miles north of New York City. When firefighters arrived, large flames were already tearing through the building, and responders started to evacuate residents.
Christopher Kear, a Rockland County fire official, said Tuesday that the firefighter went to the third floor to rescue someone and “got lost in the conditions.”
About 20 residents and two firefighters were taken to area hospitals, Kear said. One resident was pronounced dead at the hospital, and several others had injuries described as serious, he said. One of the firefighters was released.
About 120 people lived at the home, but officials were still trying to figure out how many were in the facility at the time of the fire.
Kear said the building was a total loss, and it was too early to comment on the cause of the fire.
In video captured at the scene, firefighters can be heard shouting “mayday” and “backup” as they watch part of the building, engulfed by flames, collapse. Video also shows Rockland Hatzoloh emergency medical workers at the scene, providing assistance for victims.
Some residents were evacuated by bus to an offsite facility after volunteers from the Chaverim of Rockland, another EMS group, got them “safe and out of harm’s way.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo directed the state Department of Health to help transfer more than 100 residents to other facilities Tuesday. He also deployed the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to assist with the investigation into the fire. State police officers are helping collect evidence.
“On behalf of the family of New York, my heart breaks for those who lost loved ones in the fire, and we pray that anyone else involved is safe,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The State will continue providing whatever support is needed to ensure that happens.”
Wilson Wong is a breaking news reporter with NBC News.