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Eight-alarm fire at New York apartment building displaces hundreds

More than 300 firefighters and emergency medical personnel fought a fire at a large apartment building in New York City on Tuesday, which displaced dozens of families, firefighters said.

The fire in Jackson Heights, Queens, started around 1 p.m. and has displaced dozens of families, according to the New York City Fire Department.

There were no serious life-threatening injuries from the eight-alarm fire, FDNY Deputy Deputy Chief Michael Gala said.

But 21 people, including 16 firefighters, were taken to hospitals in the area, and the situation has been described as a very complicated and protracted operation.

The building houses around 150 apartments and 90 families – around 240 people – have been displaced, Gala said.

The fire was reported on the top floor of the six-story building, NBC New York reported.

An occupant fled the fire but left a door open, allowing the fire to spread through hallways and other areas, FDNY commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said.

“We have emphasized over the years the seriousness of this – if you unfortunately have a fire in your house or apartment, how important it is to close that door,” Nigro said.

News helicopter footage showed thick black smoke rising from the building which was visible from afar.

About 350 firefighters and EMS staff were on the scene Tuesday evening, and firefighters will be there overnight, Gala said.

The American Red Cross for the greater New York City area was on the scene assisting the displaced residents. In a tweet, he estimated the number of households displaced by the fire at more than 130.

“There will be many, many families who will need a place to stay tonight,” Nigro said, according to video of the scene.

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