What to Know
- About 200 firefighters battled the blaze as it overtook the top floors of an apartment building in Elmhurst
- More than 100 units in the building were damaged and dozens were left displaced
- It's unclear what started the fire; officials believe it started between the roof and ceiling of the top apartments
A fire on the roof of an apartment building in Queens spread to apartments below, leaving dozens of residents displaced as the blaze burned for hours, the FDNY said.
The fire broke out around 6:30 p.m. at a six-story building on 94th Street in Elmhurst.
Dozens of residents filled nearby streets and sidewalks to watch as about 200 firefighters tried to fight back the flames.
Video from the Long Island Expressway just before nightfall shows smoke rising over the neighborhood as the fire overtakes the roof and top floors.
Another video shows bright flames and thick smoke pouring from windows on the top floors as fire crews arrive below.
Crews were still dousing hot spots as the blaze was brought under control at 10 p.m. By that point, part of the roof had collapsed. The smell of smoke still lingered in the air.
Eleven firefighters were hurt, but all were expected to be OK, fire officials said.
Red Cross said 112 units in the building were evacuated and that affected residents were taken to PS 13Q for food, health assistance and emotional support.
Dozens of anguished residents were left in disarray after the fire. Abishek Chandiramani, a tenant on the fifth floor, was among them.
"My wife is pregnant," Chandiramani said through tears. "We have no home, nothing. We have to stay the whole night here outside."
Chandiramani said he believes many, if not most, of his possessions are gone.
"I have only my phone," he said. "I came with my slippers. I don't have nothing."
Ken Taylor faced the same terrible reality.
"All I could think about was my whole life was gone," he said.
For Taylor, there was a silver lining in an otherwise devastating night. His dogs, Diamond and Fluffy, who he feared had been lost in the blaze, were ultimately rescued from the building.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Officials believe it started somewhere between the ceiling of the top floors and the roof.