A six-alarm fire ripped through the top floor of a Bronx building near Yankee Stadium early Wednesday, injuring at least 33 firefighters and three civilians and forcing more than 100 residents from their homes. NY1's Tina Redwine filed the following report.
It was a rare six-alarm fire that tore through 975 Walton Avenue just after midnight Wednesday. The flames were so intense, they lit up the walls of nearby Yankee Stadium.
5-year-old Nizar McMillion was in his sixth-floor bedroom, down the hall from where the fire started.
"I was looking out my window and saw smoke," he said.
Nizar woke his dad, Donell, who now calls the boy his little hero.
"A 5-year-old had good enough sense to disobey his father and yell at his father and pull his covers off and let him know the building is on fire," Donell said. "I'm proud of my son."
The McMillions escaped without injury but the fire department said three residents and 33 firefighters suffered minor injuries, mostly due to heat exhaustion.
Firefighters said the heat and humidity added to the difficulty of bringing the fire under control.
The location of the fire also spelled trouble. Firefighters said it started on the top floor and spread through the cockloft, which is the open area between the roof and ceiling above the apartments.
"It wasn't exposed at first," said FDNY Deputy Chief Ronald Werner. "We had to pull ceilings. There was metal lath and the temperature."
The building is shaped like an H. The residents from the north side have been allowed back in but not all tenants on the south side.
"There was a partial collapse of the roof boards and a structure that was on the roof," Werner said. "We had an I-beam that was completely twisted. That is why we can't go into that area right now."
30 apartments were damaged or destroyed.
The Red Cross set up a reception area at nearby All Hallows High school where the displaced residents could wait while temporary housing was found for those who don't have family members or friends to stay with.
"I was glad to hear that everybody was alive," said resident Arian Burton. That's the main thing. Nobody got seriously injured that we know."