Directed by Gretchen Hildebran, Vivian Vazquez • Documentary • With Carmen Rosado, Hetty Fox, Robert Foster • 2020 • 76 minutes
Decade of Fire covers a shocking but untold piece of American urban history, when the South Bronx was on fire in the 1970s.
Left unprotected by the city government, nearly a quarter-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned to the ground, reducing the community to rubble.
Buildings burned almost continuously from an estimated forty fires a day that destroyed 80% of area housing stock and displaced a quarter-million residents. Decade of Fire uses striking, never-before-seen archival and home movie footage, plus testimonials from retired FDNY firefighters and brass, as well as Bronx historians and community organizers, to reveal the real reasons for the devastation, showing what can happen when a community chooses to fight back and reclaim their neighborhood.
With the help of fellow survivors, Vivian Vázquez Irizarry, who grew up in the South Bronx, and other community leaders tell the story of how they banded together amidst the rubble and built a better future for their children.