NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A five-alarm fire in the Bronx destroyed several buildings and injured nearly a dozen firefighters Thursday morning.
Hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze for hours before finally bringing it under control around 10 a.m. It broke out around 6:15 a.m. on East 226th Street and White Plains Road in Wakefield, FDNY officials said.
The fire started in a detached garage behind a building and then quickly spread, authorities said. It went to a fourth alarm by 6:28 a.m, and, about an hour later, to a fifth alarm, the FDNY said.
As CBS 2′s John Slattery reported Thursday afternoon, the charred remains of a shopping center were still smoldering 12 hours after the inferno broke out.
Heavy smoke engulfed the entire area and could be seen from as far away as Westchester County, fire officials said.
At least 11 buildings caught fire and were either damaged or destroyed.
“They’re basically wood-frame construction at the top, there’s no partitions,” said Chief of Department Edward Kilduff. “It got under the roof and then spread from store to store to store as it went up the block.”
Among the businesses burned to the ground were two delis, a laundromat, a hair salon, a nail salon and a mosque.
“Everything in the hands of God,” mosque official Balal Ahmed told CBS 2′s Slattery. “We’ve just got to be patient, and that’s all I can tell you.”
“I lost the store, I lost store,” shop owner Mohammed Al Saidi told Slattery.
“You put in seven years and gone in two hours,” store employee Malik Didye told Slattery.
“The stores that I go to all the time, they’re all gone,” nearby resident Lynnette Copeland said. ”It’s the whole block.”
“Just got totally wiped out,” a man on the scene said.
City Councilman Andy King urged other Bronx business owners to offer help to those who lost so much in the fire.
“Some of them may not be able to start themselves over,” he said. “A lot of our small businesses in the district rely on day-to-day operations, week to week existence. I’m hoping they are able to pull themselves together.”
There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire. The FDNY said 10 firefighters were taken to a hospital with minor injuries and a pedestrian was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Subway service along the Nos. 2 and 5 lines between Gun Hill Road and 241 Street was suspended for a time Thursday morning. By 9:45 a.m., service had been restored but trains were still bypassing 225 Street in both directions.
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