NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — A massive fire tore through an apartment building in Spring Valley, leaving dozens homeless.

The fire started near the top of the complex late on Wednesday morning and spread quickly. By the time fire units arrived on scene the flames were burning through the roof, faster than they could be contained.

Fire officials told CBS 2’s Lou Young that they initially believed that the fire would claim the entire building.

“I was thinking that we’re gonna lose the whole building. There was an awful lot of flame and it was in the attic area right away,” said Deputy Chief Bob Johnson of the Spring Valley Fire Department.

Witnesses described a frantic scene.

“I saw flames shoot from the top of the building. People were running everywhere. It was crazy,” said Jesie Rosarian.

As additional alarms rang out a fire team from Nanuet arrived on scene and made it into the building to stop the advancing flames.

Firefighters ripped out the ceiling and used a wall of water to fight the flames, it took more than two-hours to bring the blaze under control.

“We stopped it there inside the building and afterwards made a trench through the roof and double checked to make sure the fire didn’t pass us. It worked,” explained Assistant Chief Todd Giraudin of the Nanuet Fire Department.

Firefighters were able to save all but fifteen apartments, although a number of other units also suffered smoke and water damage.

No serious injuries were reported, one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. The Red Cross announced that it would set up a shelter for those who were left homeless by the fire.

Have you ever experienced a fire of this magnitude? Let us know in our comments section below…


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