A five-alarm fire ripped through an apartment complex in Elmhurst on Monday night, injuring seven people.
The blaze broke out just after 6:30 p.m. on the top floor of the six-story building, located at 41-72 Judge St.
It took the 200 firefighters called to the scene nearly three hours to get the flames under control. According to the FDNY, crews had trouble reaching the fire because of abandoned cars, snow-covered roadways and high winds, which acted as fuel for the flames.
By the time firefighters got to the building, the flames had spread into the opening between the ceiling and the roof that is often filled with lumber, according to published reports.
The Red Cross was also on hand to help out victims.The organization provided housing and hot meals to 50 displaced residents at a local shelter that was set up at PS 89, located at 85-28 Britton Ave. The shelter is scheduled to remain open until the building is reopened or alternative housing is provided.
“We are available to people who need a safe haven,” Red Cross spokesperson Anita Slazberg said.
The entire complex has been evacuated for now, but residents could be back in their homes sooner than anticipated.
“We are working with the New York City Building’s Department and our contractors to return our residents to their homes as quickly and safely as possible,” stated Roxanne Donovan, a spokesperson for Kaled Management, the company that owns the building.According to management, the undamaged wing of the complex could be operational by Thursday.
As far as the fire-damaged apartments, “it is too soon to tell” when residents will be able to return to their homes, according to Donovan.
“We are thankful that there was no loss of life in the fire and we are grateful to the New York City Fire Department for their heroic work in protecting our residents and the neighborhood,” she added.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Four firefighters and three civilians were injured in the blaze. None of the injuries sustained were considered life-threatening.