Four people, including two firefighters, suffered minor injuries and a number of patients were evacuated when a two-alarm fire broke out on the roof of a Queens hospital Friday, authorities said.
More than 100 fire and EMS personnel responded to the blaze at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital on Beach 19th Street at 5:15 p.m., the FDNY said. Doctors, nurses and the hospital’s maintenance staff helped move patients out of the building.
Photos showed a large cloud of thick black smoke and flames coming from the roof of the Far Rockaway hospital.
The fire was under control by 7 p.m., and the cause was under investigation. The hospital said no patients or staff were harmed.
Anthony Sidzieniewski, a dialysis patient, was in the basement for treatment when the fire broke out. He was evacuated and was being wheeled back into the hospital as he told The Post the ordeal was frightening, but also orderly.
“They evacuated everybody which is — you gotta get the hell out of there,” Sidzieniewski said. “Oxygen in there, oxygen lines and everything else. You gotta be real careful.”
He lauded the hospital staff and first responders for their work, saying: “These people are fantastic.”
An emergency room technician, who would only give his first name, Tim, said that although workers could not evacuate every patient, it was an all-hands-on-deck effort.
“They just said it overhead to evacuate the hospital,” the turnover technician, 33, said.
“Unfortunately they weren’t able to [evacuate all the patients],” he added. “We had to [remain calm.] You can’t freak out because you got to take care of the patients first.”
An off-duty nurse who lives nearby said she came back to help when she heard about the emergency.
“I live five minutes away from the hospital. I was home when my husband called me and said ‘Come and see, your hospital is on fire!,’” said Esther Appiah, outside of the evacuated hospital.
“So I came up and I saw thick smoke. You could see the flames too, and the smoke was thick. Very thick.”
A 32-year-old maintenance worker who was off-duty at the time and gave his first name, Ike, also returned to the jobsite.
“I was asleep. I woke up and I saw a bunch of missed calls on my phone. Then I quickly went on my phone and made some calls like, ‘Oh, your job is on fire.’ So I just quickly drove over here,” Ike said.
A neighbor who was successfully treated for colon cancer at St. John’s said the hospital is “a second home” for her, and that seeing the flames brought her to tears.
“I cried. This is my second home.” “I’m a cancer survivor so they took care of me when I was very sick,” Auxiliadora Soza, 36, said.
“It’s very sad. When I was driving back home I was still in shock.”
St. John’s Episcopal Hospital praised first responders for their swift work.
“Thankfully, we had no fire related injuries and FDNY was able to swiftly evacuate patients and team members,” said Renée Hastick-Motes, vice president of external affairs, in a statement.
“It is not known, at this moment, how the fire got started but it was quickly contained and extinguished,” the statement read.