21 people injured in 8-alarm building fire in Jackson Heights

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NEW YORK (TBEN) – Fire officials say a blaze that started in a Queens apartment building on Tuesday afternoon is still not under control.

As night fell, the blaze was still raging, a deadly battle for hundreds of firefighters who worked all day and night.

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The blaze, which started around 1 p.m., flooded an area of ​​Jackson Heights with smoke that could be seen for miles around.

As TBEN’s Nick Caloway reports, the video of the scene is remarkable. Fierce flames could be seen erupting from the windows of the apartments in the six-story residential building on 89th Street and 34th Avenue.

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“There was a ton of smoke. I saw it from my window a block away. And the moment I got here, flames shot from the roof. They’ve been pouring water into it for a good two hours. It’s crazy, ”said a neighbor.

The fire started in an apartment on the sixth floor of the 133-unit building and quickly spread through the space between the ceiling and the roof.

Fire officials say the operation will be extended.

“This fire is still not under control. We will probably be here overnight, if not over the next couple of days, ”said FDNY Deputy Chief Michael Gala.

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Firefighters say 21 people were injured, including 16 firefighters and five civilians. However, none of the injuries appeared to be life threatening.

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10-year-old Keyla Cardenas was home alone when a neighbor told her she had to evacuate the building.

“I was, like, in a panic. I didn’t know who to call, ”Keyla said.

She saved her dog as she escaped.

“I feel a little nervous and sad because that was the only house we had, and now we don’t know where to go,” she says.

All residents are listed, but resident Elvira Suarez says firefighters forced her to leave so quickly that she didn’t have time to save her two cats.

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“Do you know if your cats are doing well?” Caloway asked.

“No, I don’t know anything,” Suarez said.

Around the corner of the blaze, volunteers distributed food and supplies to displaced residents who were understandably distraught after seeing their home and everything in it catch fire.

Ninety families, a total of around 240 people, have been displaced. The Red Cross helps with temporary accommodation.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Nick Caloway of TBEN contributed to this report.

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