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Brooklyn Building Fire Reaches 5 Alarms, 4 Injured

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – At least one resident and three firefighters were injured in a building fire in Cypress Hills Saturday morning.

The fire originated in the middle of the block of Atlantic Avenue near New Jersey Avenue crowded with attached businesses ground level and apartments above, reports CBS2's Dave Carlin.

Around 10 in the morning Saturday is when thick smoke started pouring out of an appliance store... then flames shot up to apartments including a second floor one where Diosmary Fermin was sleeping.

Her first thought was rescuing her 8-month-old cat Simba, who got out unscathed via Fermin's cat carrier.

"He was under my bed there was smoke and he was under there," she said. "I was calling him and he wouldn't come out until I got in and put them in here and came downstairs."

Authorities report that the fire reached five alarms as smoke continued to billow into the Brooklyn air Saturday afternoon.

One resident and four firefighters were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. At least eight apartments are uninhabitable, and about 20 residents got help from the American Red Cross.

Three gutted storefronts include a hair salon that now has missing ceiling, owned for more than two decades by Mercedes Rodriguez.

"I lost my money, I lost my job, I don't know how to do now," said Rodriguez.

A church will have to cancel its Sunday services, leaving Pastor Manuel Rivas scrambling for replacement space but feeling blessed no one was killed.

"Everyone got out safe, which is good," he said.

A challenge for firefighters at the age of these buildings with the renovations in the past that allowed open spaces and gaps that allowed plans to get inside walls and travel quickly.

"There are many unknowns we have to deal with," said FDNY Deputy Asst. Chief Joseph Jardin. "The fire travel through voids probably for utilities upward."

The fire marshal has yet to declare what official caused the fire.

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