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Hamilton Heights fire engulfs roof of apartment building, injures 9, officials say

A fire in Hamilton Heights reached at least

A fire in Hamilton Heights reached at least five alarms on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, the FDNY said. Photo Credit: @KevinClamato via Twitter

A fire that heavily damaged a Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, displacing residents and sending a massive plume of smoke into the sky, was finally under control Saturday morning.

The six-alarm fire broke out at 565 W. 144th St., near Broadway, just before 3:15 p.m., according to fire officials. High winds caused the rapid spread of the flames through the top floor of the building. 

It was brought under control as of 9 a.m. Saturday, an FDNY spokeswoman said.

Roughly 255 firefighters and paramedics responded to the scene, according to the FDNY.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, according to the agency. One civilian and one police officer also suffered from smoke inhalation. At least four people were taken to area hospitals.

The American Red Cross of Greater New York is helping 20 families, including 44 adults and nine children, who were displaced by the fire. The organization set up a reception center Friday night at PS 153, located at 1750 Amsterdam Ave., where more than 40 people had access to hot meals, a spokesman said in an emailed statement. 

"Throughout the night Red Cross workers provided housing and support for essentials (food, clothing, personal care needs, medication, etc.)," the spokesman added. "We will continue to provide long term support as the families begin the recovery process."

One tenant was not immediately accounted for after the fire, FDNY chief James Leonard said at a press conference held Saturday morning. But the person was later found in North Carolina, according to the Daily News.

At the height of the fire, its billowing smoke plume could be seen from across the Hudson River, social media posts show. One woman tweeted a video showing the smoke rising into the sky from her office window on 137th Street.

Syndee Winters, an actress who lists "Hamilton: The Musical" under her credits, tweeted a Periscope video from across the street that shows pieces of flaming debris falling to the ground as firefighters doused the building with water from the buckets of ladder trucks.

The six-story building has 50 units and was built in 1920, according to the real estate listing firm StreetEasy. Officials from the city's Department of Buildings will visit the scene Saturday to determine whether the entire structure should come down, Leonard said at the press conference.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

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