An Easter Sunday fire in Orange County resulted in the displacement of over 30 individuals, as a devastating blaze originating from a vacant house in Newburgh spread to three neighboring homes. CBS New York received information from officials stating that the fire’s rapid expansion was facilitated by a shared roof area, necessitating a grueling 10-hour effort by firefighters to extinguish it.

Alejandro Macareno, visibly distressed with hands blackened by soot, attempted to retrieve belongings from his residence, expressing confusion over the fire’s cause. The incident forced 33 residents to evacuate their homes, leaving them to confront the sudden loss and displacement.

In the aftermath, community members like Jose Servellon sought support for the affected families, highlighting the urgent need for assistance as some victims faced the prospect of spending the night outdoors. Investigators suspect the fire was accidentally ignited by individuals seeking refuge in the abandoned property, a situation exacerbated by Newburgh’s significant number of derelict buildings and the challenges in securing them against unauthorized entry.

Newburgh Fire Chief FJ Spinelli and Mayor Torrance Harvey acknowledged the persistent issue of squatting and the difficulties in managing abandoned properties, stressing the need for continued efforts to address these challenges. The American Red Cross is actively providing aid to the victims, as efforts to secure the damaged structures are underway.

The incident underscores the broader social and housing challenges faced by Newburgh, where a substantial portion of the population lives in poverty and the city grapples with the consequences of abandoned and unsecured properties.

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