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3 Firefighters Killed, 50 Injured

June 18, 2001

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NEW YORK (AP) _ A five-alarm fire and explosions in a hardware store Sunday toppled the building’s roof and brick facade, killing three firefighters and dozens of other people, authorities said.

The blast injured more than 50 people, including firefighters, police officers and other rescue personnel. Two civilians suffered minor injuries.

``It sounded like a charge when they detonate a building to demolish it,″ said Cleavon Wills, 27, who lives in an apartment above the store and was playing keyboard in the adjacent Lighthouse Church. ``I thought the whole building had collapsed.″

Harry Ford, 50, and John Downing, 40, died when a pair of explosions brought down the building’s roof and facade and buried them. Brian Fahey, 46, fell into the basement, where he was trapped for hours.

A fourth firefighter, Joseph Vosilla, 41, was in critical condition at a hospital.

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