Fire of eight alarms in New York City apartment building displaces hundreds of people

More than 300 firefighters and emergency medical personnel fought a fire in a large New York City apartment building Tuesday that displaced dozens of families, fire officials said.

The fire in Jackson Heights, Queens, broke out around 1 p.m. and displaced dozens of families, according to the New York City Fire Department.

There have been no serious injuries from the eight-alarm blaze, said FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Gala.

But 21 people were injured, including 16 firefighters. The firefighters suffered mainly strains and sprains, but two firefighters suffered burns, Gala said. The situation was described as a very complicated and lengthy operation.

The building houses about 150 apartments and 90 families, about 240 people, were displaced, Gala said.

The fire was reported on the top floor of the six-story apartment building, NBC New York reported.

One occupant fled the fire but left a door open, allowing the fire to spread to hallways and other areas, FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said.

“We’ve emphasized over the years the seriousness of that – if you unfortunately have a fire in your house or apartment, how important it is to close that door,” Nigro said.

No one is reported missing and firefighters searched the entire building, Gala said. Of the five non-firefighters who were injured, four refused treatment and one person was taken to a hospital, he said.

The news helicopter footage showed thick black smoke billowing out of the building that was visible from far away.

About 350 firefighters and EMS personnel were at the scene Tuesday night,

“This is a significant, significant fire,” Gala said. “… We’ll be here all night, if not for the next few days.”

The American Red Cross for the New York metropolitan region was on the scene and assisted displaced residents. In a tweet, he put the number of households displaced by the fire at more than 130.

“There will be many, many families who will need a place to stay tonight,” Nigro said, according to video of the scene.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Firefighters will begin the investigation once they can safely enter, Gala said.

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