NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An extra-alarm fire broke out in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx Tuesday.
Ten people were injured and witnesses risked their lives to help rescue those inside.
The FDNY was notified at 1:10 p.m. of the fire in the five-story apartment building at 860 Hunts Point Ave., near Seneca Avenue. The fire was raised to three and then four alarms.
Residents gathered outside the walk-up building as the FDNY battled the blaze.
“When they arrived, they had a heavy smoke and fire condition coming from the third-floor windows, which drew their attention to the third floor. We believe the fire actually started on the first floor, and an interior shaft, windows, and toward the back of the building,” said FDNY Chief Roger Sakowich.
Flames and black smoke billowed out of the windows and took over the five floor apartment building.
“I see everyone yelling ‘fire, fire,’ running down the stairs,” Anthony Faison said.
A little girl hiding in her room was rescued by good Samaritans who happened to be walking down the street.
“We heard the lady screaming, ‘oh, my daughter’s in there,’ so me and my brother went inside,” one man said.
The two men plus another neighbor teamed up and fought heavy smoke and flames to get her out.
“There was a lot of smoke up in the air and it was clear in the bottom, so we went under, but it was too hot, and too much smoke, so we couldn’t get through,” he said.
They said they knocked the door down and eventually used the fire escape — pushing out an AC unit to pull her to safety.
“Tito passed her to me through the fire escape, so she was crying, she just looked so scared it kind of broke my heart,” Faison said.
Sakowich told CBS2’s Reena Roy at the scene that 10 people injured — four civilians and six firefighters. None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, and most were caused by smoke inhalation, the FDNY said.
The fire had spread quickly to the back of the building, then up the shaft to other floors. The conditions were so dangerous that firefighters had to shelter two people inside as 150 FDNY members brought it under control.
“We decided it was too risky to bring them down at that point and we sheltered them in place and actually got oxygen to them until it was safe to bring them down,” Sakowich said.
The American Red Cross Greater New York was on the scene offering assistance. Officials said everyone made it out and will recover. They are still trying to figure out what caused the fire.