Four people were injured when a massive three-alarm fire swept through two high-rise apartments in Far Rockaway, Queens on Wednesday night, fire officials said.
None of the injuries were life threatening, the FDNY reported, and all were treated at area hospitals.
The fire broke out shortly after 8:30 p.m. on the fifth floor of 22-11 New Haven Ave. and quickly spread to the sixth floor of the six-story building.
When firefighters arrived, authorities said, they found all of the occupants had self evacuated, but some were either on fire escapes or inside the smoke filled hallways.
Fire officials said the smoke-eaters struggled to evacuate residents, with some tenants clutching their dogs or cats trying to escape the choking clouds of smoke. Flames licked the outside of the building and out onto terraces threatening to engulf other apartments in the building. Firefighters feared that the blaze could spread into the roof cockloft and destroy the entire building.
The fire quickly went to three-alarms, bringing in 160 firefighters to contain the rapidly spreading flames. Officials said the fire was made more difficult because of “heavy clutter” in one apartment and a long hose stretch to the source of the fire.
At one point, six hoses were used to extinguish the fire; it took firefighters nearly two hours to bring under control.
“I am sad for the families, a week before Thanksgiving. Fire was racing out the windows.” said Kim McCleary a resident of the block.
“Thank goodness the Fire Department reacted as quickly as they did. There is no telling how bad this fire could of gotten,” said Edward Smith, a neighbor of that building.
The cause of the fire was still unclear and fire marshals were investigating the blaze this morning.