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At least 50 flooded houses destroyed by New York City fire

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 8:20 am

NEW YORK — A huge fire destroyed at least 50 homes in a flooded neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

More than 190 firefighters were trying to contain the blaze in the Breezy Point section and two people suffered minor injuries, a fire department spokesman said.

The fire was reported around 11 p.m. Monday in an area flooded by the superstorm that began sweeping through the city earlier, officials said.

Firefighters told WABC-TV that the water was chest high on the street, and they had to use a boat to make rescues. They said in one apartment home, about 25 people were trapped in an upstairs unit, and the two-story home next door was ablaze and setting fire to the apartment's roof. Firefighters climbed an awning to get to the trapped people and took them downstairs to a boat in the street.

Video footage of the scene shows a hellish swath of tightly packed homes fully engulfed in orange flames as firefighters hauled hoses while sloshing in ankle-high water. Many homes appeared completely flattened by the wind-whipped flames.

The neighborhood sits on the Rockaway peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean.

In September, the beachfront neighborhood was struck by a tornado that hurled debris in the air, knocked out power and startled residents who once thought of twisters as a Midwestern phenomenon.