A destructive four-alarm fire left a row of Queens businesses badly damaged and two firefighters with serious injuries by the time officials got the blaze under control.
The commercial fire started on Springfield Boulevard in Queens Village early Saturday morning, prompting the response of dozens and then eventually hundreds of firefighters.
FDNY Assistant Chief of Department Joseph Jardin said investigators believe the fire started around 2 a.m. in the center structure of three commercial businesses.
The fire had quickly moved into the roof of the structure and extended to the cockloft, the space in the building between the ceiling and the underside of the roof level, causing the fire to easily spread between the businesses.
"They were operating about ten foot inside the rear of the building when a portion of the root collapsed, trapping two of our members initially," Jardin said.
One of the firefighters was briefly trapped under a 20x20 foot section of roof, he said. Crews were able to rescue that firefighter and a second trapped crew member, both were taken to nearby hospitals with serious injuries.
"Even after the collapse occurred and we were able to address the needs of our members in distress, we continued that interior attack until an assessment was done and a determination was made that the building was structurally compromised to an extent we pulled members out and resorted to an exterior operation," Jardin said at the scene.
A third firefighter was also injured but their injuries were described as minor.
The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing.