NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Several firefighters were injured while battling a Christmas day fire on the Upper East Side.
Their jobs were made more difficult because one of the apartments involved was filled with clutter.
Smoke billowed and flames devoured a fifth-floor apartment at East 69th Street and York Avenue Wednesday.
“I heard the super was banging on the door saying fire, fire!” Hazelene Brown said.
Brown lives in the unit below where the fire started. She rushed to get out with her cat.
“I got up immediately, went to the front to get out the carriage for my cat, went through the fire escape.”
The fire started around noon in an apartment on the building’s top floor. It spread through the ceiling, into the attic, and through the roof.
The FDNY says crews had difficulty battling the flames due to clutter filling one of the units.
“Picture an apartment filled with debris to your waist level. You can understand how that would be difficult getting into a doorway or even moving,” FDNY Deputy Chief Fred Schaaf said.
Authorities say 140 firefighters responded to the 3-alarm fire. Four have since been taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.
Luckily, no civilians were hurt in the blaze.
The American Red Cross is now helping the residents that have been displaced. Many say they’re just glad everyone was not badly hurt.
“It’s a happy holidays for me I’m alive,” Brown added.
“It’s not as cold as it could be and hopefully no one got hurt or lost too much,” John Weaver said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.