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Massive Fire Erupts At Hempstead Apartment Complex

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- About 200 firefighters battled a fire -- and strong winds -- at a Hempstead apartment complex Thursday.

Six people were treated for smoke inhalation, WCBS 880's Sophia Hall reported. One child suffered an asthma attack, CBS2's Alice Gainer reported.

The fire started around 1:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of 100 Terrace Ave., authorities told Gainer. The response was raised to five alarms, and many apartments were destroyed.

The complex houses more than 400 units, Hall reported.

Massive Fire Erupts At Hempstead Apartment Complex

The cause of the blaze was under investigation late Thursday.

All of the residents had to be evacuated and placed on buses as firefighters from 15 different departments battled the blaze, Hall reported.

"Fire alarm didn't even go off at all," one resident said. "Then when I stepped in the hall, all I see is the little blinker keep going off. I was wondering, 'Why was not the alarm going off?'"

The fire, which took two hours to get under control, has been extinguished, Gainer reported.

"Unfortunately because it was a windy day today, the wind also played a contributing factor to the fire spreading," Deputy Mayor Waylyn Hobbs. "That's what made this fire so difficult is that it was wind-driven."

The Red Cross said it will assist the more than 100 people who were left homeless.

The agency has opened a relief shelter at Hempstead High School, where those left homeless will receive safe shelter, food, clothing, and emotional and physical health support.

The agency expected between 70 and 100 residents to sleep at the shelter Thursday night.

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