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Late Night Fire Erupts in Empty Building on Greene Avenue

Firefighters battled the mysterious blaze for an hour

A two-alarm fire erupted in an unoccupied private home on Greene Avenue Tuesday night, leaving one firefighter injured and fire officials investigating its mysterious origin.

Twenty-five units and approximately 106 firefighters were called to 819 Greene Avenue between Lewis and Stuyvesant avenues in Bed-Stuy at around 8:30 p.m., where a blaze raged on the first and second floors of a boarded-up four-story brownstone.

By 8:48, the flames had spread to the fourth floor and then extended to 817 Greene Avenue, causing damage to the building directly to its left.

Firefighters battled the blaze for another 40 minutes before it was brought under control by 9:28 p.m.

“It’s a mess, because I’ve been through this before,” said Rosalyn Johnson, the homeowner of 817 Greene Avenue. “I had another house that caught on fire in October 2009, and we’re still trying to get over that. You know how long it took us to find someone who would insure us again? And now this!”

Johnson was standing outside watching the firefighters with her husband, daughter, brother-in-law and their cat Ruby. She said no one in her house was injured, but she was concerned about where they would be staying for the night, and the health of her daughter, who had asthma.

“The house that’s on fire, nobody live in,” Johnson said. “There used to be squatters in there but the city got rid of them. Nobody’s been in there for a long time.”

“That house was beautiful, you hear what I’m saying? It had two working fire places, wood floors throughout; top, top notch, there was nothing wrong with that house.

“This is such a shame the way they are having to tear it up right now, because it was one of the most beautiful houses on this block.”

One firefighter was treated at the scene for smoke injuries, according to fire officials.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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