People living at the building on Holland Avenue in the Allerton section woke up to mayhem as flames and thick smoke shot out of the top floor just after sunrise.
"I heard the alarms going off. I immediately came out of my apartment, I went upstairs, I knocked on the door, I tried to see if somebody was in there, but I ain't got no answer," one woman said.
The fire started in an apartment on the sixth floor.
"Also that fire had extended into the cockloft area, which is the area between the roof and the top floor ceiling," said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief John Sarrocco.
More than 130 firefighters responded to battle the flames from inside and out. They found five people injured on the sixth floor. One person suffered critical injuries.
"That victim and the other victims were brought down and handed off to EMS for pre-hospital advanced life support," said Sarrocco.
Jonathan Phillips, who lives on the fifth floor, said he's grateful firefighters jumped into action fast. He was able to get his daughter, 1-year-old granddaughter and two cats out safely.
"A lot of smoke. A lot of flames," said Phillips. "At six in the morning, you know, you're just getting up. And all that chaos at one time, that was just crazy."
Residents tried to salvage what they could.
"I started, you know, crying. I never experienced nothing like this," another resident said.
The American Red Cross has been on the scene and helped eight families that were displaced by the fire.
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