NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A three-alarm fire tore through three attached residential homes, forcing residents to run for their lives on Staten Island.

The blaze was reported around 7:40 a.m. Friday and declared under control at 8:45 a.m.

It erupted at 106 Pitney Ave. in the Bloomingdale section of the borough and quickly spread to two other units, the FDNY said. The three were in a row of seven attached three-story homes.

“Very scary. I didn’t even have sneakers on, I just ran out,” Christina Polizzotto, who was forced to flee her burning home with her little boy, Eddie, told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport. “The whole house just went up.”

Off-duty FDNY firefighter Leonard Tyrell lives nearby and quickly sprung into action.

“I saw smoke coming from the rear of 106,” he told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith. “Just ran across the street and got them out. I knocked on all the neighbors’ doors, got them out.”

Tyrell’s quick thinking helped startle residents awake as the homes went up in flames.

Department of Sanitation workers Jay Visone and August Cocuzza were working in the neighborhood when the blaze erupted.

Neighbors said the two also started to alert residents.

“We saw the houses on fire and together we just ran to the homes and just started ringing on door bells,” Visone said.

Video from the scene showed huge flames and heavy smoke rising from the buildings at the height of the fire.

“It was just advanced fire on arrival and we had to stretch numerous hand lines,” deputy fire chief Dave Smith said.

Thirty-three units and about 138 firefighters responded to the scene.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries; one civilian refused medical attention, fire officials said.

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