2011-07-13 / Features

Two-Alarm Blaze Shifts Riker’s Island Inmates

Aerial photo of Riker’s Island, seen from the North. 
Photo Cdogsimmons Aerial photo of Riker’s Island, seen from the North. Photo Cdogsimmons A fast-moving fire in an air conditioning room at Riker’s Island forced the evacuation of 200 inmates from a dormitory at the prison on Sunday evening.

The fire in the George Motchan Detention Center started at about 8:13 p.m. on July 10 in the basement of the two-story, brick building, an FDNY spokesperson said.

Firefighters called a second alarm at about 8:21 p.m. and switched to an outside operation to battle the blaze, the spokesperson said. Four firefighters suffered minor injuries in the fire, which took approximately three hours to get under control.

Approximately 200 inmates that were housed in several dormitories destroyed by the fire were evacuated to other facilities on the island prison on Sunday evening, a Department of Corrections (DOC) spokesperson said.

The DOC spokesperson said it is too early to determine how long it will take to restore dormitories destroyed by the fire.

Inmates from the George Motchan Detention Center will remain in other facilities on Riker’s Island until such time as repairs are completed, the spokesperson said.

“We thank God that there was no loss of life and no injuries. We are always concerned with what happens on Riker’s Island since our community is a heart beat away,” United Community Civic Association President (UCCA) Rose Marie Poveromo said.

“Our prayers are with the firefighters and we thank them for being available at any moment whenever we need them.”

Fire marshals are investigating to determine the exact cause of the blaze, fire officials said.

–Liz Goff

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