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5 firefighters hurt battling DOT warehouse fire in Willets Points, Queens

Cause of DOT warehouse fire in Queens under investigation
Cause of DOT warehouse fire in Queens under investigation 01:55

NEW YORK -- Firefighters battled a massive fire overnight at a Department of Transportation warehouse in Willets Point, Queens.

At around 10 p.m. on Monday, bright orange flames shot out from the roof of 32-11 Harper St., a building used for maintaining and storing agency vehicles.

"We have 24-hour security. It was one of the person who made the call. Thank God no one was inside," DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said.

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Chopper 2 is checking out stories and traffic around the area, including a massive warehouse fire in Willets Point, Queens. See more streaming on CBS News New York:

Posted by CBS New York on Tuesday, September 5, 2023

On Tuesday morning, Chopper 2 showed the extensive damage from the five-alarm fire. Members of the FDNY stayed on the scene in case any hot spots flared up again.

The FDNY said extreme heat and a lack of water supply contributed to the over four-hour struggle to get the blaze under control.

Set in a remote area, a Marine Harbor Unit had to connect water from the bay to the hoses to deluge the timber roof.

"We drafted water and used water from the bay, drafting it to the tower ladders to contain and eventually extinguish the fire, which I said was contained in the roof," FDNY Assistant Chief Joseph Ferrante said. "You could almost look right through the building. The contents wasn't burning in it."

The FDNY said five firefighters were injured, mostly related to fatigue.

"It was very humid when I got here. It was really extreme work conditions," Ferrante said.

He said all the firefighters were stable.

The city had told residents to close their windows due to potentially hazardous materials inside, but the FDNY said the warehouse was similar to any garage with vehicles inside.

Luis Enrique Loja said he comes to the bay daily. He said through a translator, "Something like this hasn't happened here. It's worrisome. The building very old," adding "The black smoke is harmful."

Employees were seen going in and out of the building on Tuesday, but it's not clear if it will be fully functional again.

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