NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As a family screamed for help inside their sixth-floor apartment at 50 E. 191st Street in the Bronx at around 3 a.m. on Saturday morning with flames surrounding them, the FDNY sprung into action.

Neighbors told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan that the fire sounded just as violent, as it looked.

“I just heard a loud boom and then glass came out and fire came out the window,” said Anthony McKee.

The act of heroism by firefighters was especially dramatic, as they were not able to get hoses in. Instead, they had to use fire extinguishers to get the father and kids out.

1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reports

“It was a heavy fire with a lot of heat and there were heavy smoke conditions, but there were no hose lines in place,” Battalion Chief Tom Riley told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “The firefighters had to use the fire extinguisher to hold the fire back while they got past the fire to make the rescues, because we had confirmed that people were trapped in there. It’s very difficult and challenging under those conditions.”

As intense smoke and fire poured out of the sixth-floor apartment, one man living a floor below rushed out to protect himself and his loved one.

“I just grabbed my pregnant girlfriend and we got out of there,” he said. “People were screaming and panicking that glass was falling and that there were still people trapped upstairs. It was a lot of panic.”

The tenant credited firefighters for getting everyone out of the building as quickly as possible.

Three children — an infant, a one-year-old and a two-year-old — are in critical condition, and were brought to Jacobi Medical Center with smoke inhalation. The father is also in critical condition after suffering severe burns, and the mother and another child sustained minor injuries due to smoke inhalation.

Three firefighters also sustained minor injuries.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but fire officials said that it started as a kitchen fire that spread.

Please offer your well-wishes for the family and the firefighters involved….

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