A total of 21 people were injured in the fire, according to New York Fire Department (FDNY) Deputy Deputy Chief Michael Gala. Among the injured are 16 firefighters, two who suffered burns and five civilians, according to Gala. None face life-threatening injuries.
The building houses around 150 apartments, according to Gala. Some 240 people, or 90 families, have been displaced by the fire, Gala said. The Red Cross is on the scene and helps 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 the ceiling, known as the cockloft, according to the FDNY.
The occupant of the apartment fled the fire and left the door open, according to the FDNY. Because the door was left open, the fire spread through the hallway and spread much more quickly, according to the 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 “freaked out because everything went black.”
“I grabbed my mom, I grabbed my dog and the pets we have, and we just ran away,” Singhi told WABC.
FDNY continues to fight the fire from the outside. The fire marshal will determine the cause and source of the fire when they can enter the building, fire department officials said.
While providing updates at the scene, firefighters emphasized the importance of closing the doors if a fire breaks out at your residence. This helps prevent the fire from spreading.
“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,” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro told CNN affiliate WABC.