A raging fire ravaged the second floor of a home in Hollis on Thursday, March 29, but not before residents in the three-family house escaped without injury, officials said.
“The whole floor was destroyed,” said resident Sarabjeet Mahabir.
Embers from the first-alarm fire engulfed the upper portion of the 89th Avenue home at around 1:30 p.m. Fire officials said more than 12 units — with more than 60 firefighters battling the blaze — controlled the flames within 20 minutes.
According to the FDNY, eight adults and four children live in the private home.
Mahabir said the kids — ages 9, 10, 13 and 14 — were at school at the time and did not have to witness evacuations.
“That’s a blessing,” said Mahabir, 37. “When you hear about fires and deaths from it, it’s scary. You hear people’s stories, and you really don’t know what they go through until you experience it for yourself. Right now, it’s a hard time, but we are so happy. It could have been worse.”
Officials at the American Red Cross said they have provided temporary overnight housing to two of the three displaced families at a local hotel.
Spokesperson Michael de Vulpillieres said one of the apartments was “severely damaged and inhabitable,” and the entire house, Mahabir said, suffered fire and water damage. In the meantime, the three families — who are all related — plan on staying with relatives.
The cause of the fire was unknown as of press time.