Firefighters Hurt As Extra-Alarm Fire Sweeps Through Queens Apartment Building

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of families are displaced after an extra-alarm fire tore through an apartment building in Elmhurst, Queens early Tuesday evening.

The fire started at 6:30 p.m. on the top floor of the building at 56-11 94th St., between 56th and 57th avenues, according to the FDNY.

The FDNY called a second alarm on arrival, and the fire had been raised to five alarms by 7:15 p.m., the FDNY reported.

One firefighter was seem being carried away in a stretcher, and a total of 11 firefighters were treated for injuries fighting the blaze, CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported.

An elderly woman was also wheeled away from the scene.

A total of 200 firefighters responded to the scene, and an FDNY drone was also pressed into service.

One resident says he was home in a top floor apartment when the fire began.

“I was home, I just got home from work and a neighbor told me, knocked on my door and told me they see smoke,” he said. “Right away I grabbed a couple of stuff and I walked outside.”

By 9 p.m., crews remained on scene to watch for any flare-ups.

Overwhelmed with joy at the sight of her two dogs — named Diamond and Lucky — resident Iyona Taylor broke down into tears.

“That was the first thing I asked,” she said. “There’s no way I could have gone on without them.”

Her husband Ken says they were both at work when the fire broke out on the floor above their apartment.

“I lost everything,” he said. “This is all I cared about and I’m so glad, so glad they’re here.”

A photo by Twitter user Krystle Ortiz de V. showed bright orange flames coming from a window in the building, and black smoke pouring from several other windows and from the roof.

Twitter user Melissa Monsalve posted a video from some distance away showing clouds of black smoke.

The FDNY also tweeted videos showing flames shooting from the roof.

The FDNY says there was extensive damage to 112 apartment units in total.

There were some tense moments at one point, when firefighters discovered a strange bag or backpack on the ground near the fire. The NYPD was on hand to investigate and deemed it nothing suspicious.

The American Red Cross of Greater New York said it had multiple teams on scene meeting with affected residents at a nearby reception center at PS 13Q, providing food, beverages, health assistance, and emotional support.

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