21 people were injured in the fire, according to New York Fire Department deputy assistant chief Michael Galla. Among the wounded, 16 firefighters, two with burns, and five civilians, according to Gala. None of them faces life threatening injuries.
The building contains about 150 apartments, according to Gala. Gala said that about 240 people, or 90 families, were displaced by the fire. The Red Cross is present in the square and is 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 roof and ceiling, known as Cockloft, according to FDNY.
The apartment’s occupant escaped from the fire and left the door open, according to the New York National Defense Command. Because the door was left open, the fire spread to the hallway and spread more quickly, according to FDNY. One side of the building, Gala said, was destroyed by the fire.
Video from the scene showing thick smoke billowing from the red roof of the building in the Jackson Heights neighborhood.
Another resident, Kimberly Senji, said she was “scared because everything has gone black.”
“I grabbed my mom, and I grabbed my dog and our pets, and we just ran out,” Senji told WABC.
FDNY continues to fight fire from outside. Fire department officials said the cause and origin of the fire will be determined by the fire chief when they manage to enter the building.
While providing updates at the scene of the accident, fire officials emphasized the importance of closing doors in the event of a fire in your home. This helps prevent the fire from spreading.
“We’ve stressed over the years how seriously it is that if you unfortunately have a fire in your home or apartment, how important it is to close that door,” Daniel Negro, Commissioner of FDNY, told CNN’s WABC.