FAR ROCKAWAY, Queens — Police officers, firefighters and civilians were injured Friday when a fire broke out in a high-rise apartment building in Far Rockaway, authorities said.
Officers ran inside the complex to rescue residents while firefighters attacked the blaze from the outside, climbing onto nearby balconies to reach the flames instead of going "head-to-head" with the whipping winds that fueled the fire.
A police sergeant, seven officers and three firefighters suffered smoke inhalation while responding to the blaze, NYPD said. At least five civilians also suffered smoke inhalation.
A resident told PIX11 News the smoke was "horrendous."
One of the victims is in critical condition, two are in serious condition and the remaining suffered non-life threatening injuries, FDNY said, without specifying which victims' injuries were the most severe.
A call came in about 11:30 a.m. about a blaze on the 11th floor of a 13-story building at 88-00 Shore Front Parkway, fire officials said. About 20 units were on scene with nearly 80 firefighters battling the blaze, FDNY said.
Fire officials determined the cause of the fire was accidental — a halogen lamp was in close proximity to combustibles, and a smoke alarm was not present.