A fire broke out early this morning at Flatbush Hardware on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and St. Mark’s Avenue in Prospect Heights. The five-alarm fire was so intense that it awakened people who lived as far as ten blocks away. Tragically, the New York Daily News reports that Bassan Awad, “a local merchant, died… when flames blocked his only route of escape, forcing him to jump out a top-floor window.” And, according to the FDNY, “Seven others were injured in the Prospect Heights blaze, including one person who was said to be in critical condition and two others who suffered serious burns.”
Awad owned a nearby deli on Flatbush, and lived in the 4th-floor residence above his store. His sister-in-law told the News that Awad “chose to jump out a window because he could not access the fire escape.”
The hardware store is co-owned by two brothers, Christopher and Desmond Nation, who “grew up with Awad and his family.” In fact, it was Awad’s father who rented the storefront to the Nation brothers’ father in the late 80s. As Christopher Nation told the News, “His father gave my father an opportunity to do something. We were two families living the American dream.”
The blazing fire took over 175 firefighters over three hours to put out; its cause remains unknown at this time.
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