NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Firefighters battled a five-alarm blaze that spread to several commercial buildings overnight in Sunnyside, Queens.
The fire broke out around 2:15 a.m. Thursday at the New York Style Eats restaurant on Queens Boulevard near 45th Street.
Watch: FDNY Shares Update On Five-Alarm Sunnyside Fire
Officials said at least 12 people were hurt, including seven firefighters who suffered minor injuries.
The flames spread to five other businesses, and nearby buildings were evacuated.
“It’s sad, it’s sad, because it traveled so quick and it could get to my animals. That’s the main thing. It’s really hard.” pet store owner Steven DiSimone told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis. “The good thing is the fire department is doing a wonderful job.”
“My heart is just sunk,” said Keshia Gonsalves, who owns a nail salon that sustained minimal damage. “Sunnyside, we’re strong. We’ll definitely be able to pick up from this, and we’re here if you guys need us.”
SEE IT: Sunnyside Moment Of Explosion
A back-draft explosion caused part of the structure to collapse and sent firefighters scrambling.
“There was a big explosion. I saw almost three firefighters blew out from the basement out to the ground,” said resident Eric Guvercin. “One of the fire department guys picked up his helmet and he ran back there to do his job,” he added. “I feel bad that I have to see this, because the holidays are coming up now.”
The owner of the building told DeAngelis many of the businesses have been there for 20 years and the building has been in his family for three generations.
“I don’t know what all our tenants are going to do now. Once again, we’ve known them for a minimum 20 years, most of them,” owner Chris Petsanas said.
“It’s hard, it’s really hard watching something that was built from the ground up by my family. You can lose it overnight. It’s just gone,” his daughter, Maria, added.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.