PUBLISHED : MON, 21 APR 2014, 10:05 PM
UPDATED : TUES, 22 APR 2014, 10:33 AM
VIDEO : A five-alarm fire broke out late Monday afternoon in a large office building at 74-09 37th Avenue, between 74th and 75th Streets in Jackson Heights, Queens. The fire began at about 5:30 p.m., said one witness, who works at the pizza shop across the street from the burning building. There were three minor injuries, NY1 reported.
Jackson Heights residents coming home from work were blocked as they walked up several streets from the major transit hub at Roosevelt Avenue, about one block away from the fire.
At one point and out of caution, firefighters burst through the fourth floor windows of the building next door using the high-pressurized hose water to stop the blaze from spreading.
It took about six hours for firefighters to put out the fire. Witnesses saw three ladder companies hosing down the fire. A fourth ladder company was on the scene, but it was not actively engaged in fighting the fire. It's not known if that fourth ladder company, had it been hosing down the fire, could have extinguished the blaze sooner. Several firefighter engines were on the scene in the blocks around the burning building. The top two floors of the building could be seen as having been destroyed the the fire.
The billowing smoke from the burning building covered several apartment buildings downwind from the fire, blanketing an entire area from 74th Street and 37th Avenue to 76th Street and Northern Blvd., and perhaps beyond.
Medical offices are located in the first floor of the burning building, along with an Italian restaurant. In the upper floors, a small college, Plaza Business Institute, shares space with several businesses, NBC4 New York reported. It is estimated that the whole building is now considered destroyed, effectively putting an end to hundreds of jobs that people had with the businesses, the business college, and law and medical offices in the building.