Five people were injured in a six-alarm fire in Queens that forced some 200 people out of their homes early yesterday morning.
Flames broke out around 11:45 p.m. Saturday night on the fifth floor of a six-story apartment building on Neilson Street in Far Rockaway, officials said. Exacerbated by the wind, the blaze quickly spread to the sixth floor and to the building's attic.
By 1:30 a.m., firefighters called the sixth alarm as flames engulfed the building's top floors and officials received calls that several people, including a child, were stuck on the fifth and sixth floors.
In all, some 400 firefighters simultaneously battled flames and evacuated residents from 58 apartments throughout the building, including 3-year-old Chanise McMillan, who was trapped on the sixth floor. Officials said Chanise's mother was able to climb to safety herself, while a firefighter carried the girl downstairs. She was taken to St. John's Hospital in stable condition, where she was treated for smoke inhalation.
According to fire department officials, four other civilians and 27 firefighters also received nonlife-threatening injuries in the blaze.
Firefighters were able to keep flames from spreading to the lower floors and largely fought the fire from above, according to Deputy Fire Chief Bob Maynes, who described yesterday's fire as "extremely fast-spreading."
Yesterday's windy weather led to "very arduous" conditions, he said.
Fire Department officials said a full investigation will determine the cause of the quick-moving fire, which was finally extinguished by 4 a.m. yesterday.