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Eight-alarm fire at New York City apartment building displaces hundreds

Around 90 families were displaced in the fire in Queens, a fire official said.
Image: FDNY responds to a building fire in Queens, NY on April 6, 2021
FDNY responds to a building fire in Queens, NY on April 6, 2021.Twitter/FDNY

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

There were no serious injuries from the eight-alarm fire in Jackson Heights, Queens, that broke out around 1 p.m. on the top floor of the six-floor apartment building, officials said.

But 21 people, including 16 firefighters, suffered injuries. The firefighters suffered mainly strains and sprains, but two firefighters suffered burns, FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said.

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

"There will be many, many families who will be needing a place to stay tonight," FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said, according to video from the scene.

Nigro said Wednesday that it took 12 hours to get the fire under control. The fire was able to grow so large because there was a delay in notifying the FDNY, according to the commissioner.

He said the cause of the fire has not been determined because the building was so heavily damaged that fire marshals still could not get inside.

Investigators do know that one person who escaped from the fire left a door open, which allowed the fire spread to hallways and other areas, Nigro said Tuesday.

"We've stressed over the years the seriousness of that — if you do unfortunately have a fire in your home or apartment, how important it is to close that door," Nigro said.

There is no one reported missing, and firefighters searched the entire building, Gala said. Of the five people who were not firefighters who were hurt, four declined treatment, and one person was taken to a hospital, he said.

News helicopter footage showed thick black smoke rising from the building that was visible from far away.

Around 350 firefighters and EMS personnel were on the scene at one point Tuesday evening.