According to the FDNY and eyewitnesses, an intense fire broke out on a Bronx street early Wednesday, originating from a box truck. The truck, belonging to a company contracted by the city’s Department of Transportation, caught fire at approximately 5:30 a.m. near the intersection of Dyre Ave. and Light St. in Eastchester. This location was only a short distance away from an elevated train line.
The fire rapidly escalated, engulfing numerous vehicles in the vicinity, as evidenced by the thick smoke and flames visible from the nearby elevated station. Fire Marshals from the FDNY are currently investigating the cause of the fire and its rapid spread.
Officials from the Department of Transportation revealed that the box truck belonged to a markings contractor responsible for filling in new pedestrian space beneath the elevated train with epoxy gravel.
Video footage captured the moment when a substance from the box truck began to leak and subsequently ignited the surrounding vehicles, leading to the swift progression of the fire.
“(It was) like lava,” one area resident, who only identified himself as Horace, told the Daily News. “(It was) like gunpowder, but it gave a fire stream and it ran along here and burnt up this car.”
Horace and several other residents recalled hearing several explosions as the fires spread.
“(There was an) explosion, an earth shaking explosion. Not just a noise like a gunshot,” Horace said. “It was unbelievable. You would think a plane crashed down here. A lot of people don’t have power.”
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According to officials from the FDNY, the explosions that occurred were likely caused by the intense heat causing the tires of the vehicles to become overheated and burst. Although propane tanks were discovered in at least one vehicle, they did not detonate, as confirmed by an FDNY source.
Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters discovered the vehicles completely engulfed in flames. It took a team of over 60 firefighters approximately one hour to extinguish the fires, as reported by an FDNY spokesperson.
The extreme intensity of the flames caused damage to neighboring residences, according to accounts from residents in the area.
“Each time I’m hearing the explosion getting closer and closer,” resident Antoinette Hoo told The News. “And when I opened my door, I can feel the heat. I see the flames under the door. I said, ‘The fire is going to come upstairs.’ I was crying.”
“It looked devastating. It was an orange flame,” Horace recalled. “The fire was like an intense wall coming to the houses. We were ready to go.”
Witnesses stated that the truck that ignited was owned by a company contracted by the city for road painting. When the truck began to emit smoke, the crew halted their work and made an unsuccessful attempt to extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher.
Horace, who owned a work van and a Mercedes Benz, shared that both of his vehicles were ravaged by the raging fire.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported in the incident.