Officials are investigating what caused a massive fire at a Hamilton Heights building — one that hundreds of city firefighters spent about 18 hours fighting.
"When you think of a home, you think of walls, a roof, a floor — just basic things — and now seeing that, 'OK, this is no longer my home; it was once my home,'" said Hilena Tibebe, who lost her apartment in the fire. "It's still taking time to process."
The six-alarm fire that was not under control until Saturday morning, the FDNY said. Flames broke out on the top floor of the building on West 144th St. and Broadway around 3:14 p.m. Friday.
Officials said earlier Saturday that a person who lived on the top floor was missing, but that person has been found in North Carolina, according to the NYPD. Officials are no longer searching for anyone.
The city fire department said wind helped the fire spread to other floors of the 42-unit apartment building.
The flames destroyed the building's top two floors, and extensive water damage took over the rest.
At the height of the blaze, about 255 firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics were on-scene.
Officials said they were concerned that the building may collapse.
Nine people, including seven firefighters and one police officer, suffered minor injuries, according to the fire department.
"The building is old. I think we don't even have a super for the last six months," one resident said. "So there you go, that tells you everything about how much they care."
"This is already our second fire in this building," resident Minerva Read said. "We had one about three years ago and we were able to rebuild and get back into the building, so we are hoping the same thing is going to happen."
The fire has displaced more than 50 people. The Red Cross is providing help to families that have been affected.
FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard said Friday night that the fire department evacuated nearby buildings because heavy smoke was in the street.
People are not allowed in the building directly behind the one that was on fire, but residents should be allowed back in soon.