NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A lightning strike sparked a massive fire that broke out in an apartment building in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens section of Flatbush Thursday morning, seriously injuring a firefighter and leaving dozens homeless.
A lighting strike hit 456 Brooklyn Ave. at 9:47 a.m. and the 7-story building on New York Avenue caught fire at 10:08 a.m., according to the FDNY.
The fire quickly grew to multiple alarms. Some 220 firefighters battled the six-alarm blaze before bringing it under control four hours later.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones reports
A few dozen firefighters had to be taken to nearby hospitals, one experiencing severe chest pains and smoke inhalation, CBS 2′s Emily Smith reported.
At least 18 apartments are considered to be a total loss, Smith reported. The other apartments in the building have water damage.
“I was sleeping. All I heard was a loud boom. My brother woke me up and told me I needed to get out of the building –that’s when we looked outside and saw flames,” one resident told Smith.
“I know I can get my college diplomas back. Clothes and things like that just … I’m glad I’m alive and here,” said sixth-floor resident Kevin Eldermire.
The Red Cross was at the scene to help displaced families. Earlier, a Red Cross official collapsed from the heat and had to be taken off in a stretcher. He is resting comfortably now, Smith reported.
It could be several days before residents know if and when they can return.