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21 People Injured As 8-Alarm Fire Rages In Jackson Heights Apartment Building

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Fire officials say a blaze that started at a Queens apartment building Tuesday afternoon is still not under control.

As night fell, the fire was still raging, a bruising battle for hundreds of firefighters who worked all day and into the night.

The blaze, which started around 1 p.m., flooded a Jackson Heights neighborhood with smoke that could be seen for miles around.

As CBS2's Nick Caloway reports, video from the scene is remarkable. Fierce flames could be seen erupting from the apartment windows of the six-story residential building located at 89th Street and 34th Avenue.

"There was a ton of smoke. I saw it from my window a block away. And then by the time I got down here there were flames shooting out the roof. They've been pouring water on it for two solid hours. It's crazy," one neighbor said.

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The fire started in a sixth-floor apartment of the 133-unit building and spread rapidly through the space between the ceiling and the roof.

Fire officials say this will be a prolonged operation.

"This fire is still not under control. We will probably be here through the night, if not through the next couple of days," FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala said.

Fire officials say 21 people have been injured, including 16 firefighters and five civilians. However, none of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening.

Ten-year-old Keyla Cardenas was home alone when a neighbor told her she had to evacuate the building.

"I was, like, in panic. I didn't know who to call," Keyla said.

She rescued her dog as she escaped.

"I feel kind of nervous and sad because that was, like, the only house we had, and now we don't know where to go," she said.

All residents are accounted for, but resident Elvira Suarez says firefighters made her leave so quickly, she didn't have time to rescue her two cats.

"Do you know if your cats are OK?" Caloway asked.

"No, I don't know nothing," Suarez said.

Around the corner from the fire, volunteers handed out food and supplies to displaced residents who were understandably distraught after watching their home, and everything inside, go up in flames.

Ninety families, a total of about 240 people, have been displaced. The Red Cross is assisting with temporary lodging.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

CBS2's Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

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