A total of 21 people were injured in the blaze, according to Deputy Chief of the New York Fire Department (FDNY) Michael Gala. The injured include 16 firefighters, two who suffered burns and five civilians, according to Gala. None face life-threatening injuries.
The building houses around 150 apartments, according to Gala. About 240 people, or 90 families, were displaced by the blaze, Gala said. The Red Cross is there and helps these families.
The fire was found in an apartment on the sixth floor of the building and quickly spread to the area between the apartment’s ceiling and the roof, known as the cockloft, according to the FDNY.
The occupant of the apartment fled the fire and left the door open, according to FDNY. Because the door was left open, the fire spread through the hallway and spread much faster, according to the FDNY. The fire consumed one side of the building, Gala said.
Video from the scene shows thick smoke rising from the roof of the red building in the Jackson Heights neighborhood.
Another resident, Kimberly Singhi, said she “got scared, because everything had turned black”.
“I grabbed my mom, grabbed my dog and the pets we have, and we just ran out,” Singhi told WABC.
FDNY continues to fight the fire from outside. The cause and origin of the fire will be determined by the fire marshal when he can enter the building, fire department officials said.
While giving updates on the scene, the firefighters stressed the importance of closing the doors if a fire breaks out in your residence. This helps prevent the fire from spreading.
“We have stressed over the years the gravity of that if you unfortunately have a fire in your house or apartment, how important it is to close that door,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told CNN affiliate, WABC.