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At Least 19 Firefighters Hurt In Apartment Building Blaze In Hamilton Heights

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A five-alarm fire broke out in a residential building in Hamilton Heights on Monday afternoon, leaving at least 19 firefighters injured.

As CBS 2's John Slattery reported, the blaze broke out around 3:45 p.m. in a building at 520 W. 139th St. The smoke was visible from the West Side Highway, and people were trying to shield their faces from the smoke as far south as 125th Street.

Fire In 7-Story Apt. Building Forces Evacuations In Hamilton Heights

Five of the injured firefighters were taken to the burn unit, officials said.

"They wear their full gear, which keeps all that heat in there and the firefighters can't last as long due to those conditions," Assistant Fire Chief James Manahan said. "The greatest challenge is the weather, with the humidity, the size of the building."

In all, seven apartments were destroyed in the fire, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported.

The American Red Cross responded and was offering clothing, food and temporary shelter to those displaced.

"We're going to work with these residents for as long as we need to to ensure that their emergency needs are met," a Red Cross official on the scene told Diamond.

The blaze initially engulfed the sixth and seventh floors of the seven-story apartment building.

"Everything is gone," said the son of a man who lost his apartment. "I feel very bad, because I just want to know if they've got someplace for my father."

One civilian also suffered minor injuries, but refused medical attention.

The blaze was brought under control early Monday evening.

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