Flames broke out around 10 p.m. Sunday in a home in the 3-story building on Diamond Street in Greenpoint and quickly spread to two neighboring homes as people were quickly evacuated.
Four people suffered minor injuries.
Two buildings have been declared structurally unsound while another was destroyed.
An Eyewitness News viewer nearby captured video of the flames shooting out of the window:
The FDNY reports that more than 140 firefighters responded to the scene.
Diamond st. Fire. Greenpoint bk. pic.twitter.com/FCJlEX8EBl— evenings ☄ (@eveningss) February 15, 2016
Firefighters said they were not hampered by the frigid cold.
"The cold is always a challenge but but it really didn't cause any problems fighting the fire, it wasn't an impediment or uncomfortable," said FDNY Deputy Chief Dean Koester.
Three people were placed in housing by the Red Cross, but most of the families affected by the fire are staying with neighbors.