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‘I just had 15 seconds’: Residents describe terrifying moment 2-alarm fire tore through their Astoria apartment building

The residents who live above a Queens laundromat described on Wednesday the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below. Photo by Dean Moses

Feb. 21, 2024 By Dean Moses

The Queens residents who live above an Astoria laundromat described Wednesday afternoon the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below just hours prior.

According to FDNY sources, a two-alarm fire engulfed the Laundromat Center of Astoria, located at 28-17 38th Ave., at around 10:35 a.m. A massive plume of smoke rapidly spread throughout the entire building in minutes, according to one resident who was staying with a friend.

“I was working on the laptop, and I started to see some smoke come in,” said Neeraj Ancam. “As soon as I stepped out of my front door, I saw a cloud of smoke and I instantly knew something was wrong. I was like I gotta get the f**k outta here.”

The residents who live above a Queens laundromat described on Wednesday the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below. Photo by Dean Moses

Ancam said he quickly rushed out of the building and escaped through a rear exit. By the time he made it outside he said his apartment had already become a thick smokescreen.

“Had I been in there for any longer I would have fainted because there was thick smoke,” Ancam said. “I just had 15 seconds.”

When Ancam fled, he said it happened so fast that he unfortunately left his dog inside. Thankfully responding firefighters were able to rescue the pup and reunite the pair.

Neeraj Ancam. Photo by Dean Moses

The residents who live above a Queens laundromat described on Wednesday the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below.Photo by Dean Moses

The conditions proved to be so hazardous that the blaze wasn’t officially placed under control until 1:07 p.m. During the hours-long battle, fire-eaters could be seen smashing windows, climbing over charred washing machines, and pulling down pieces of wall and ceiling.

FDNY reported that four firefighters suffered minor injuries while dosing the fire and were rushed to Mount Sinai Queens, while two residents were also injured, one of whom was transported to NY Presbyterian Weill Cornell University Hospital.

“I am just happy nobody lost their lives,” one resident who asked not to be named said as she gathered her belongings.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The residents who live above a Queens laundromat described on Wednesday the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below. Photo by Dean Moses

The residents who live above a Queens laundromat described on Wednesday the terrifying moment a two-alarm fire tore through their apartments from below. Photo by Dean Moses

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