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Firefighters Responded To Call At Queens Building Hours Before Devastating Blaze

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An extra-alarm fire broke out Thursday afternoon, in a building in Ozone Park, Queens.

The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday in the residential building at 103-45 97th St. in Queens, near Liberty Avenue, fire officials told 1010 WINS.

But as CBS2's Matt Kozar reported, firefighters had been to the building just hours before on a call about a smoke issue.

Sources said that firefighters did not see smoke upon arrival, but deenergized the electrical box and recommended an electrician be called to the apartment.

5-Alarm Fire Rips Through Residential Building In Ozone Park, Queens

The fire which was later raised to four alarms, and later five alarms left dozens homeless a week before Christmas.

The building is a large, four-story complex, CBS2's Joe Biermann reported. The fire ran along the attic over several apartments.

The fire started on the top floors of the building and ripped through the roof, the FDNY said.

"Horrible. It was horrible. Flames everywhere, helicopter was over," Nalini Jaimohan told WCBS 880's Jim Smith. "Everybody was crying because we thought her apartment went down."

Flames swallowed the roof, and firefighters did everything they could to prevent the blaze from spreading to the elevated subway tracks just a stone's throw away.

"At this point, I would imagine that the entire building is unlivable. There's sever damage to the top floor. The remaining floors have water damage," FDNY Fire Chief James Leonard said.

Biermann reported it appeared that everyone got out safely. One person was seen being transported to a hospital from the fire, but no major injuries were reported.

"My cousin, father, and mother. We're trying to figure it out. We'll give them my house," Golam Uddin said.

An estimated 24 households were displaced by the blaze. The American Red Cross was dispatched to provide temporary housing, emergency funds for food and clothing, and physical health support.

A relief center was set up at nearby P.S. 65 for affected residents.

"Everything is gone. We don't have anything. We lost everything," Ivy Ramirez said.

Ramirez works at the Hampton Inn and said her company will give her housing until she can get back on her feet.

The fire affected subway train service in the area, 1010 WINS reported. The A and C trains were suspended near Rockaway Boulevard during the fire.

Service had resumed by 5:40 p.m., but residual delays persisted.

The fire had been largely extinguished by 5:40 p.m., but the Fire Department was still hitting hot spots. A total of 44 units and 198 firefighters were sent to the scene.

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