April 7 (UPI) -- More than 350 firefighters and emergency personnel were deployed to an eight-alarm fire that rapidly spread through a New York City apartment building, resulting in nearly two dozen people injured, authorities said.
The fire tore through the six-story building with about 150 apartments in Jackson Heights, Queens, on Tuesday, displacing 90 families equaling about 240 residents, New York City Fire Department Assistant Chief Michael Gala said in a statement.
There were no serious or life-threatening injuries, but 16 firefighters were transported to area hospitals and five civilians were also injured in the blaze, Gala said.
"Heavy smoke and heavy heat conditions," Gala said. "This is a significant fire."
The FDNY said it was called to the scene concerning a fire on the sixth floor of the building shortly before 1 p.m.
The fire had quickly spread through the building via the gap between the ceiling and the floor as it consumed one side of the building.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the resident of the apartment where the fire began left the door open, permitting the blaze to spread to other apartments and to grow into an eight-alarm emergency.
"We've stressed over the years the seriousness of that," Nigro said. "If you do unfortunately have a fire in your home, it's important to close that door because the fire spread out into the hallway and units are unable to make a quick advance."
The FDNY said that when responders arrived, the door to the unit had been left open and as they attempted to move forward, three members were burned and required medical attention.
Gala described the situation as a "very complicated and prolonged operation" that will keep them on scene throughout the night.