A vacate order has been issued for Jose Guzman’s Bronx home of 50 years and the three neighboring buildings. Like most impacted, many of his possessions inside are ruined as well, but he’s choosing to remain positive.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Isaiah Levine Killed In Double Shooting On Lower East Side, Second Victim In Hospital
“Thank god that we’re alive,” he said. “The house, insurance pays for the house. This is more important, our life. That’s more important.”
The strip of multi-family homes along East 143rd Street in the Mott Haven section were ravaged after a fast-moving fire tore through them around 10 p.m. Friday. Video shows flames shooting from the roof and smoke swallowing the sky above.
“There was smoke coming from the roof, and I went down, and people were saying, ‘Fire, fire.’ Everyone was scared,” one witness said.
It took almost 170 firefighters to get the fire under control, but neighbors also rushed to the scene and helped get people out, CBS2’s John Dias reported.
“Fire was pretty advanced on arrival at 418 and we quickly learned that it had spread already to 416,” said Chief Dean Koester.
The four-alarm fire quickly engulfed four apartment buildings and sent pandemonium across the area.
No one was hurt, thanks in part to neighbor Jacqueline Moncesino.READ MORE: Tony Award-Winning Temptations Musical 'Ain't Too Proud' Reopens On Broadway
“I was coming from my grandmother’s wake and we saw, like, smoke here in the lamp, and I got out and I smelled it,” said Moncesino, who lives across the street.
Moncesino and her sister called 911 then sprang into action.
“My sister and I, we started banging on doors and called the fire department. We started getting everybody out, and then eventually the flames came through the top floor,” Moncesino said.
“You’re a Bronx superhero. Tell ’em, girl,” one neighbor told Moncesino.
“No, man, you know, it was just the right thing to do. Everybody’s got to take care of each other,” Moncesino said.
Neighbors say they were able to safely get all their pets out, too.
There’s still no word on when or if residents will be able to return back home.MORE NEWS: DEP Says New York City Tap Water Might Smell, Taste Different Because Of Different Supply Systems
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.