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Fast-Moving Fire Rips Through Brooklyn Apartment Building

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A fire tore through a Brooklyn apartment building Sunday, forcing some residents to leap from their windows to safety.

As CBS2's Valerie Castro reported, flames could be seen flickering along the roof of the three-story building at 1463 Eastern Pkwy. in Brownsville, Brooklyn.

The mid-morning fire engulfed each apartment and forced several residents to jump from windows onto neighboring roofs.

Keith Greene was one of those people.

"In one minute I smelled smoke, opened my door and it was too late -- had to head straight to the window," he said. "I was fearing for my life, I had to get out of there. It was so intense, so quick, so fast."

Another resident Cedric Chambers, said he barely had time to grab clothes.

"Just a whole flame of fire, just fire and smoke. I couldn't see nothing," he said. "I jumped through the window around the back and waited until fire rescuers came and take me down from the other side of the building."

As the fire grew, those passing by watched residents escape to safety.

"I could see the flames shooting out from the top window and all I could think about is you know, I hope nobody dead up there or nothing," said Arnold Johnson. "Next thing I seen was all of them coming out there just panicking. He was on top of the roof just waving his hand like that."

Fire investigators spent the day searching through the debris for signs of a cause and exactly where the fire started.

Chambers said he believes the fire started near the front of the building.

Two people were taken to the hospital, including a small child, Castro reported.

Greene said he probably lost everything but he's thankful he was able to get out.

"I'm alive, it's okay. I'm alive, I'm glad to be alive," he said.

Crews are set to board up the damaged building overnight. It's unclear when residents might be allowed back in to gather up any belongings.

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