NBC 4 New York
A Yonkers apartment building is a smoldering mess after a massive 4-alarm fire ripped through the building. News 4's Ida Siegal has the late details.
Several families are without a home after a large fire devastated a residential building in Yonkers Monday.
The fire inside the three-story building at 94 Saratoga Ave. burned for hours, with flames shooting out of the roof of the building and spreading to a neighboring brick building.
Eleven-year-old Mia DeJesus was at home in her second-floor apartment when she saw smoke coming through the floor.
"I ran down the stairs in my pajamas," she told NBC 4 New York. "I didn't manage to get anything besides my phone and my dog, and I went directly here to my sister's house."
DeJesus is OK, and fire officials confirmed everyone got out uninjured. Not everyone was unscathed, however. Fire victim Maria Correa said one of her cats was killed.
"I'm just devastated," she said. "We lost everything."
Firefighters did manage to rescue two dogs and Correa's two other cats, but one dog and one cat ran away in the chaos and are missing.
Correa's roommate said she she heard a small explosion that sounded like firecrackers, and then flames followed.
Fire officials said the flames likely spread so quickly because they traveled through a 4-by-4 light shaft that runs through the middle of the building and often has garbage at the bottom.
"By looking at it -- at first look -- it definitely started in the basement," said Yonkers Assistant Fire Chief John Darcy. "Ninety-nine percent it started in that light shaft and spread outward and upward."
The cause is still under investigation.