Dozens of people were forced out of their homes by a massive six-alarm fire in the Bronx late Thursday evening. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Flames shot up, spreading into 10 buildings containing more than two dozen homes.
Neighbors woke each other up.
"I had to kick the door open," said resident Harold Ivey. "I ran upstairs, and there was a lady. She was asleep. She was knocked out cold. I had to literally smack her a couple times for her to get up, and then I grabbed her, and we all got out."
More than 200 firefighters responded to the blaze on Valentine Avenue at East 180th Street just before midnight. Not knowing for sure everyone had escaped, 20 of them fought their way in to check for residents and take the offense against a fire already reaching roofs. The backs of some of the structures started to collapse, forcing firefighters to make a hasty retreat.
Three firefighters are among the nine people who suffered minor injuries.
"I was just scared," said resident Krystal Figueroa. "I didn't know where anyone was. My phone was dead. So I was just sitting there crying because you could see through the house, like, all the walls were down and everything. It's just terrible."
At daybreak Friday, you could see the sky through the smoldering remains. Some of the homes were not occupied, but most were. The 10 buildings suffered significant damage. At least half of them were completely destroyed.
"Too much pressure at the moment, stress. But we'll be OK," said resident Rafael Vargas.
Twenty-nine families, a total of 89 people, are displaced. Of the 89 people displaced, 15 of them are children. About a dozen families have turned to the Red Cross for help.
"Everybody's just, like, heartbroken because we literally lost everything," Figueroa said. "We only have what we have on."
You can see Christmas decorations singed and soaked along with presents. Some families will be turning to charities this holiday season as the fire marshal's office investigates the cause of the blaze.