Dozens displaced after fire rips through Hempstead apartment building

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HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. —  More than 50 people were displaced after a multi-alarm fire tore through a Nassau County apartment building Saturday afternoon.

The fire broke out in a second floor apartment at 36 Cathedral Ave. in Hempstead around 3 p.m. It quickly grew to five-alarms.

Henrietta Deka was one of the first to call 911 and then "I went in and knocked on all the doors to get out," Henrietta told PIX11. "I had to stop because it got too hot and smoky."

Other heroes are the close to 100 volunteer firefighters from 20 companies who wore 75 pounds of clothing and equipment including oxygen tanks in 96 degree heat.

When PIX11 asked Garden City volunteer firefighter Jim Chambers why he donates his time fighting fires, he replied, "because I like it."

Four firefighters and one civilian were injured as daring rescues were made to those trapped on upper floors.

"I just want them to save this cat. We've done what we can for the people, let's save the cat," Natalie Dougherty told PIX11.

This woman, who says she is not a cat lover, was also a hero as she frantically pointed out a cat stranded on a hot tin fire escape.

Firefighters rescued the feline and were bitten by the cat in the process.

As fire marshals search for the cause of the fire, so many residents are worried about the condition of their apartments and when they can go back home.