Preliminary report indicates cause of 3-alarm blaze in Bayside ‘undetermined’

BAYSIDE — North Shore Fire/Rescue officials on Thursday, April 4 released a preliminary “National Fire Incident Reporting System” report on the three-alarm fire early Saturday, March 30 at the White Oaks Apartments in Bayside, which revealed the cause of the fire remains undetermined.

The report said four civilians and one firefighter suffered injuries at the building on N. White Oak Lane near N. Port Washington Road. The narrative portion of the report indicated EMS officials treated numerous patients — transporting two to the hospital and treating and releasing four on scene. The firefighter suffered minor injuries, the report said.

Bayside apartment fire (credit: North Shore Fire/Rescue Facebook)

According to the report, more than 50 millions of water had to be used to extinguish the blaze.

The report offered a few more details about the fire and response. When first responders arrived, they found three apartments fully engulfed on all three floors of the building. Firefighters began attacking the fire in an attempt to knock down the main body of fire, as search and rescue efforts began. Ladders were deployed and numerous tenants were rescued.

Fire at White Oaks Apartments in Bayside

The origin of fire was found to be an exterior balcony wall outside Apartment 113. The tenant in that apartment was one of those who called 911. The report said he found the fire when he was awakened by his upstairs neighbors — and he then noticed a glow through his patio blinds. He said he looked and saw the wall to his right was on fire. The report said he attempted to douse the flames with water, but there was too much heat. He said he then shut the patio door and called 911 — and reported hearing a faint smoke alarm in the hallway. He did indicate he is not a smoker, the report said.

The State Fire Marshal’s investigation revealed the cause of the fire to be undetermined, with the State Fire Marshal’s report pending. The report said there were no human factors that contributed to the ignition, nor equipment.

Fire at White Oaks Apartments in Bayside

Fire crews remained on scene for several hours — wetting down the building and then attempting to retrieve as many valuables as possible for residents — as most apartments in the 62-unit building were destroyed and were not able to be entered by tenants.

Fire at White Oaks Apartments in Bayside

Fire at White Oaks apartment complex, Bayside

The American Red Cross on Wednesday, April 3 hosted a Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) for tenants impacted by this fire — to assist them in reclaiming their lives. From stacks of towels to dishware, the gym was packed. The Red Cross brought together a dozen agencies, like the health department and school district to connect those impacted with available resources. There was even a steady supply of meals. St. Eugene’s Congregation and School near Port Washington Road and Calumet Road was also open as a shelter, initially supporting 14 people. The past person left the shelter Wednesday morning.

Bayside fire at White Oaks Apartments

Fire at White Oaks Apartments in Bayside

FOX6 News was told all of the roughly 135 people impacted had found temporary or long-term housing.

North Shore Fire/Rescue officials on Tuesday, April 2 released body camera and dash camera video and 911 calls from this incident:

Body camera video from arriving first responders — many of whom immediately ran into the burning building:

Dashcam videos from arriving units:

911 calls, dispatch audio related to the Bayside apartment fire:

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