9 injured in 8-alarm fire in Queens

Firefighters say the 8-alarm fire spread so quickly because a door was left open when the blaze broke out.

Video Transcript

- More on those stories in just a minute. But we are going to begin this afternoon with some breaking news in Queens and a very big six-Alarm fire. Flames and smoke seen shooting through the windows of an apartment building. This is happening in Jackson Heights.

- At least eight people hurt, four of them seriously. Eyewitness News reporter Kimberly Richardson is there with the breaking details. Kimberly?

KEMBERLY RICHARDSON: Well, Joe and Liz, just a tremendous, tremendous amount of smoke still pouring from this building. Take a look. Firefighters there in the bucket on the tower ladder approaching this and fighting it from the outside. This is 89-07 34th Avenue.

Roughly 250 firefighters and EMS teams are out here working trying to get this under control. Some teams at one point were on the roof, but it appears they have pulled off the roof. Some also were climbing on fire escapes. This is a large six-story building here in Jackson Heights, roughly 130 units.

People living here tell me that at first, they didn't think anything when they started smelling smoke around 1:00 this afternoon. But then, one man tells me he heard people running down the stairs. And they knew something was wrong. This building is on 34th Avenue between 89th and 90th streets.

The fire started on the top floor and quickly spread. Flames did get into the cocroft, which is the space between the top floor and the roof. We are now heading into the fourth hour of this fire, and it is still not under control. Folks tell me they grabbed what they could, and they got out.

EDWIN MARTINEZ: And I went outside, and it smelled like burning smoke. And I asked everybody, what's going on? And nobody was answering me until a little girl who said, oh yeah, the other side of the building is burning. They said it might come over to this side, so we need to get out. And so everybody was just panicking. All you see is just smoke. When you come out of the building, you couldn't see anything. It was just all gray.

KIMBERLY SINCHI: Well, I was already getting my stuff ready just to, like, leave. And then when, I don't know, the roof collapsed. And I got scared. Everything went black and I was just like, OK. I grabbed my mom. I grabbed the dogs and the pets that we have, and we just ran out.

KEMBERLY RICHARDSON: Oh, they ran. Again, this is a live look. These are firefighters from Tower Ladder 17. They are fighting this from the exterior, because again, the fire did get into the cocroft, which is the space between the roof and the top floors. And they are actually having to, at one point, cut holes in the roof so they could get to that fire and get to the flames.

Again, eight people injured out here-- four firefighters, four residents. Right now, it is a six-alarm. Fire department will be briefing the press shortly. When I have that information, I will pass it along to you.