A total of 21 people were injured in the fire, according to New York Fire Department (FDNY) Deputy Chief Michael Gala. The injured include 16 firefighters, two who have suffered burns and five civilians, according to the Gala. No one faces life-threatening injuries.
The building houses about 150 apartments, according to the Gala. About 240 people or 90 families have been displaced by the fire, Gala said. The Red Cross is on stage helping 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 cockloft, according to FDNY.
The occupant of the apartment fled the fire, leaving the door open, according to FDNY. Because the door was open, the fire spread out into the hallway and spread much faster, according to FDNY. The fire has 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 turned black.”
“I grabbed my mother, I grabbed my dog and the pets we have, and we ran straight out,” Singhi told WABC.
FDNY continues to fight the fire from outside. The cause and origin of the flame will be determined by the fire marshal when they can enter the building, firefighters said.
While the site was being updated, fire officials stressed the importance of closing doors in the event of a burglary in your home. This helps prevent the fire from spreading.
“Over the years, we have stressed the seriousness of it, if you unfortunately have a fire in your home or apartment, how important it is to close the door,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told CNN affiliate WABC.