The fire, first reported at 12:07 p.m., occurred in the top floor of a seven-story residential building at 53-00 65th Place, according to the fire department. The fire went to second-alarm status at 12:29 p.m.. It took 60 firefighters from 12 companies just over one hour to get the blaze under control.
The large response surprised many who watched the rescue effort from the street. “It seems like overkill,” said one witness.
“In a situation like this,” said one fire official at the scene, “where multiple families could be at risk, we respond with a command center and multiple vehicles.”
The fire department said the fire started in the cockloft on the seventh floor, which is the area between the top floor ceiling and roof of the building. A fire official declined to comment on the fire’s cause, citing the ongoing investigation. No injuries were reported.
Anita Salzberg, a senior coordinator at the American Red Cross in Greater New York, said 12 people affected by the fire registered for emergency services with the Queens Red Cross chapter. Of the 12, Salzberg said, the Red Cross awarded six adults and one child emergency overnight housing in local hotels.
Salzberg said the Red Cross typically offers emergency services to people without family or friends to turn to during emergencies.
“We provide overnight housing when people are burned out of their homes in fires,” said Salzberg. “If they don’t have anywhere else to go they turn to us.”
Salzberg did not say how long the victims of the fire would receive emergency housing.