SOUNDVIEW, The Bronx (WABC) -- One firefighter was taken to the hospital and four others suffered minor injuries when a massive fire broke out in a Bronx apartment building.
Flames broke out on the top floor of an apartment building on 1420 Noble Ave in Soundview just before 7 p.m. Sunday, sending thick black smoke billowing into the night sky. Nearly 200 firefighters battled the five-alarm blaze.
"Really bad, it was really bad. They couldn't even get the ladder up there. So they finally got the water to go all the way up," said neighbor Sandra Krupp.
Firefighters hit the upper floors of the six-story building with high-powered hoses.
A child was rushed away on a stretcher, looking alert and conscious. Another tenant frantically stayed on the phone trying to make sure her neighbors made it out.
"I ran to take my son right away. He's 13 years old," said Ashli Gibbs.
Gibbs felt fortunate to be outside and safe, but she was also feeling for her community.
"This is devastating and this is a low-income block and these people can't afford to be in these situations so we have to pray and help each other out," added Gibbs.
Firefighters also rescued a cage of puppies. They are all safe and sound.
Kevin Mills and his dog made it out together.
"I had to put some shoes on and then run out, get out the house real quick and just count my blessings," said Mills.
Normally that would mean hotels as close as possible, but some here tell me they've only been offered hotel rooms in Brooklyn or Staten Island.
The Bronx Borough President said the damage that has forced dozens of families out of their homes has the city and Red Cross scrambling to find emergency shelter. Normally that would mean hotels as close as possible, but some here tell me they've only been offered hotel rooms in Brooklyn or Staten Island.
"And I understand the magnitude of what the city is dealing with, a crisis with migrants and asylum seekers, but it is unacceptable that we cannot house our own families in the Bronx," Vanessa Gibson said.
One hundred and thirteen people, 93 adults and 20 children, were left homeless by the fire.
The Red Cross registered 50 households and provided emergency housing for 29 households.
It's still not clear how the fire started but as it raged to five alarms, the flames spread quickly in the space between the 6th floor ceilings and the roof, tearing right through it.
"And I understand the magnitude of what the city is dealing with, a crisis with migrants and asylum seekers, but it is unacceptable that we cannot house our own families in the Bronx."
Gwen Moore's family did get a room nearby since they have four dogs including a mom and two puppies. Moore ran out during the fire but went right back in to the building to get them.
"They're my children also, even though they're dogs, but puppies, man's best friend," Moore said. "Yes, they're part of your family also , so I went in to go save them."
But her 13-year old daughter KaNiyah's eighth grade prom is in two days and her sparkling green prom dress was inside.
"She's taken it pretty hard," Moore said.
The borough president saw the girl's tears, and she and other officials came up with a plan.
"We will work with a number of organizations and find the exact dress and as best we can get her all the accessories, her shoes her hair, her makeup, everything because she's a queen and I don't want this fire to dash her dream of going to her 8th grade prom," Gibson said.
As residents anxiously await returning tomorrow to try to start put their lives back together there is some relief that a fire that looked as bad as it did wasn't worse.
Residents displaced by the fire on Noble Ave who need to connect with the Red Cross should call 877-RedCross.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Anthony Carlo reports from the scene:
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