NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – An extra-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in Chelsea on Christmas Day.
The fire broke out at 144 W. 19th St. near Seventh Avenue in Chelsea shortly before 4 p.m. and quickly grew warrant a three-alarms. FNDY Deputy Chief Thomas Currao said 145 firefighters were called to the scene.
Two people suffered minor injuries in the blaze — one of them a firefighter, Currao said.
As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, people described being frightened after seeing dense smoke.
Neighbors said there were several points when firefighters seemed to get the upper hand. But the fire then flared up again.
“They seemed to be getting it under control, then it would be dense smoke, and then suddenly it would burst out again with an explosion of flames,” said Stacey Dietz, “and when they would shoot the hose into it, it would shoot the flame out the windows, straight out.”
The building has about 30 apartments, and one resident of about seven years said he was pleased that he and his dog were safe. He was on a walk when he saw the building ablaze.
“I couldn’t tell if it was my building and I run around the block to get to this corner, and that’s when I saw that it was actually my floor,” said the man, Cesar Fernandez.
When asked how he felt about it happening on Christmas, Fernandez became choked up and said he did not know what to say.
The fire was brought under control shortly before 5 p.m.
Flames were seen spewing from windows on the sixth and highest floor, and CBS2 was told the flames spread rapidly to the attic.
“We had fire through the roof and we believe the wind played a major factor in that, and whatever caused the fire it seemed to have a headway on us,” Currao said.
A fire company is located immediately next door to the building on fire.
Currao said there were no reports of missing pets, despite some reports on social media voicing concerns.
The American Red Cross Greater New York responded to the scene right away to ensure people had places to stay and relocation services.
The Department of Buildings must evaluate the condition of the building before anyone can possibly return, Currao said.
In a separate fire earlier Friday, one person was killed in a blaze in Midtown.