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"Stubborn" Fire on Robertson Started in Basement

A fire at 57-59 Robertson Ave. displaced twenty-six individuals Tuesday morning.

Thankfully, Gloria Ramos’ 3-year-old daughter was visiting her aunt when a fire ripped through their apartment at 57-59 Robertson Ave. Tuesday morning.

The fire, however—which displaced six families, or 26 individuals and some pets—destroyed years worth of memories of her daughter’s life.

“All of my pictures from when my daughter was born until 3-years-old are gone,” said the 20-year-old mother.

While the loss of the laptop that held her pictures was deeply upsetting to Ramos—her biggest concern was simply “What’s going to happen next?”

“I think everyone is still in shock,” she said.

According to White Plains Commissioner of Public Safety David Chong—the blaze started in the basement of the three-story house, which was built in 1924. When the White Plains Fire Department arrived, just after the fire was reported at 1:25 a.m., flames were shooting out of the basement windows.

“We attached the fire aggressively,” said Chong. “It was a very stubborn fire.”

Chong said old wooden-framed houses are difficult to extinguish—and when one spot of the fire would go out, another would pop up. The fire, which climbed from the basement to the chimney, was declared under control at 3 a.m.

“The fire department did a phenomenal job from saving the actual structure, though there is heavy damage,” said Chong. “Because the houses are so close together in the neighborhood, they prevented the fire from spreading to any other structures.”

Fire Departments from Scarsdale, Fairview, Greenville, New Rochelle and West Harrison assisted the White Plains Fire Department with the fire that left two in need of hospitalization for smoke inhalation. The two individuals, one of whom was Ramos’ mother, have been released from .

After waking up to a smoke filled room, and escorting her mother to the hospital—Ramos headed back to the burnt building where she and other residents sat on the adjacent lawn at 10 a.m. waiting to see if it was safe enough re-enter.

Ramos said her mother got a glimpse of their apartment, which she reported was drenched in both water and soot.

Fire Station #5, which has been inactive since the 1970s, was opened up as a base for the American. According to Red Cross Volunteer Carolyn Sherwin, those displaced by the fire—21 adults, four children and one infant—would either stay with family or friends, or be provided with shelter.

The Red Cross is currently providing them with food and other essentials, like clothing and furniture, and is working with several agencies to find long-term housing for the Robertson Avenue residents. 

Donations made to the Red Cross, who are also assisting those affected by a fire in Mount Kisco, will directly go to its fire clients, Sherwin said. Click here to make a donation. 

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