The Red Cross helps about 300 people who have been made homeless after a huge fire ripped through two Queens apartment buildings Tuesday afternoon and evening.
The building complex of about 150 apartments is located on 34th Avenue and 89th Street in Jackson Heights.
The Fire Department says it was an eight-alarm fire, making it the largest fire in a decade for the city.
At least 21 people were injured, including 16 firefighters.
It took nearly 12 hours to put out the flames, although firefighters were still at the scene Wednesday morning.
It was “an intense and lengthy operation,” explained Assistant Deputy Fire Chief Michael Gala.
The Commissioner of the Fire Department, Daniel Nigro, said for his part that they were notified several minutes late about the fire and that the door of the apartment where the fire originated was left open.
And that both factors were key for the flames to spread from the top-floor apartment where the fire would have started.
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Apparently, neighbors who saw the flames or smelled the smell did not immediately think it was a fire and only called 911 about ten minutes later, which according to Niro, “takes forever” in fire time.
Likewise, those who reside in the apartment where the fire would have started left it and by leaving the door open they allowed the flames to escape and spread through corridors and others.
Nigro further said that if the fire had broken out lower in the building it could have had a terrible result.
More than 350 firefighters responded and at least 12 of them are recovering from injuries.
Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.
The fire department posted a message on social media with video footage of fires showing what happens when the door of an apartment where there are flames is left open.
FDNY urges New Yorkers to always close the door when escaping a fire. Closing the door saves lives. See more #FDNYSmart tips to help keep you and your family safe at https://t.co/NpwdRdlElY pic.twitter.com/9nEEwdMqIu
– FDNY (@FDNY) April 7, 2021
NY1Noticias reporter Julio César García was at the scene of the fire on Wednesday afternoon and reported on the efforts of the consulate of Mexico and other countries to help the victims – many of them immigrants.