Hundreds of trained homing pigeons were burned to death in their rooftop coop as a massive inferno tore through five Brooklyn buildings Tuesday night, officials and residents said Wednesday.
The fire broke out at a building on DeKalb Avenue between Wilson and Knickerbocker avenues in Bushwick at around 10 p.m. and quickly engulfed several other surrounding structures.
Gil Areiliares, who had maintained the coop for more than 20 years, kept at least 500 pigeons atop 1427 DeKalb Ave., where there is now a charred, gaping hole.
Only about 20 pigeons survived. They were spotted circling above the charred and destroyed buildings Wednesday afternoon.
“I don’t know how to put it in words — I’m sick,” a distraught Areiliares told The Post. “My heart is broken.”
Pigeons from the coops caught up in the fire are seen flying in Bushwick before the massive blaze.
Video courtesy of Abigale Hoke
About 200 firefighters battled the flames for more than three hours before bringing it under control by 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The blaze left 11 people injured and dozens of families displaced, officials said. The Red Cross helped to relocate families.
Four of the injured were taken to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center for treatment, including one firefighter who suffered minor injuries and a civilian who was seriously wounded.
Seven people were treated at the scene for minor injuries and smoke inhalation, fire officials said.
Edwin Torres, whose relatives live in one of the burnt buildings, said he was told the pigeons were “screaming like babies” during the fire.
Neighbors recalled marveling at the pigeons as the flock flew high above the area before returning to their roof.
“They used to fly the pigeons at sunset — it was so beautiful,” said Abigale Hoke, who set up a GoFundMe account to help raise money for displaced victims of the blaze.
“RIP #bushwick pigeons,” posted Twitter user @4rilla along with a 10-second video of the flock.
The FDNY was still investigating cause of the fire Wednesday.
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