40 families out of their homes

Fire rips through six-story Hamilton Heights building, forces more than 40 families out of their homes

More than 40 families were forced out of their homes as a massive blaze ripped through their Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, authorities said.

Gigantic flames could be seen punching through the roof of the building on W. 144th St. and Broadway at about 3:15 p.m., according to the FDNY.

“The one room on the top left corner was completely on fire and the flames were coming out the window,” witness Nadia El Hannari said.

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The blaze quadrupled in size as firefighters raced to the scene.

(AP)

The size of the blaze quadrupled as firefighters raced to the scene.

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“Ten minutes later, the next four or five windows, flames were shooting out,” El Hannari said. “It happened so fast.”

Firefighters douse the burning building Friday night with water.

Firefighters douse the burning building Friday night with water.

(SAM COSTANZA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

Firefighters “were on the fire escape breaking windows on the second floor and climbing in,” she said.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.

The fire started on the top floor of the century-old building.

The fire started on the top floor of the century-old building.

(GREGG VIGLIOTTI/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

One resident was rushed to a local hospital with smoke inhalation and three firefighters suffered minor injuries, he said.

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“My friend, his mom was crying she thought her kids were in there. She was having an anxiety attack,” said Nicole Manard, 19, who’s father is the superintendent in the burned building. “There was fire everywhere. It looked like it was in the trees, in the scaffolding,” Manard explained.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.

(GREGG VIGLIOTTI FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)

The 11 miles-per-hour winds in the neighborhood caused the blaze to spread quickly, forcing the 42 families in the building out into the street.