What to Know
A row of businesses in Queens went up in flames early Thursday, injuring several people, including firefighters, the FDNY says[hhmc]
The blaze broke out at a strip mall on Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside, engulfing several businesses [hhmc]
Fire officials warned people to avoid the area because of the heavy smoke suffocating the streets[hhmc]
A strip mall in Queens went up in flames early Thursday, the FDNY says, engulfing several businesses and sending nearby residents and their pets into the cold seeking safety at a nearby Wendy's as they watched the building burn.
The four-alarm blaze broke out at around 2 a.m. Thursday on Queens Boulevard, near 45th Street, in Sunnyside, according to officials and video from the scene. Firefighters said the flames started somewhere on the first floor and quickly spread.
Fire officials said at least 11 people, including six firefighters, were injured. All of the injuries are said to be minor.
The FDNY is still working to put out the blaze. Twenty-five fire departments and more than 160 firefighters responded to the fire. At least five businesses, including a restaurant, a lingerie store and hardware store, have been damaged, video shows.
One witness at the scene told News 4 that she heard sirens for about an hour when she realized what was happening.
"I felt the building shake and I started to smell smoke," Nicole Zeinert said. "So I ran in to get my husband and we grabbed our cats and coats and just ran outside."
Fire officials are warning people to avoid the area because of the heavy smoke suffocating the streets.
It's not yet clear what may have sparked the blaze.