Fire officials said late Tuesday that a fire tore through a six-story building that has around 150 apartments in Jackson Heights, Queens, injuring a total of 21 individuals.
According to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala, the wounded people included 16 firefighters that responded to the scene and five residents. Two of the injured fire respondents suffered from burns.
Gala said the wounded victims were transported to nearby hospitals and none of them were in any serious or life-threatening injuries.
According to the officials, 90 families, or about 240 residents, were displaced by the eight-alarm fire. They are currently getting assistance and aid from the Red Cross that arrived on the scene.
In a statement, FDNY authorities said that the fire started in an apartment on the sixth floor of the residential building and quickly spread through it via gaps between the ceiling and its floor as the fire consumed one part of the building.
“We’ve stressed over the years the seriousness of that,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement. “If you do unfortunately have a fire in your home, it’s important to close that door because the fire spread out into the hallway and units are unable to make a quick advance.”
FDNY said the occupant of the apartment fled from the blaze and left the door open. This caused the fire to spread more rapidly across the hallway of the building’s sixth floor.
“Heavy smoke and heavy heat conditions,” Gala said. “This is a significant fire.”