Nearly 3 Dozen Injured in Staten Island Fire - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Nearly 3 Dozen Injured in Staten Island Fire

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Fire tore through three townhouses on Staten Island early Thursday, injuring 34 people including two young children who were tossed out a window from a smoke-filled second-floor apartment into the arms of neighbors below, authorities and witnesses said. About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze that erupted at about 1 a.m., battling the five-alarm fire for several hours until the early morning.

A New York Fire Department spokesman said 23 firefighters and 11 civilians suffered injuries ranging from minor to serious but none was considered life-threatening. He said the number was expected to climb slightly.

He said the flames were so heavy that firefighters were unable to say where the fire originated. That would be part of the investigation into what caused the blaze, he said.

A neighbor, Anthony DiSimone, said he and his fiancee, Darleen Cerzosie, helped two young children to safety after seeing a man screaming and dangling his young son from a second-floor window thick with smoke.

"The father was stuck up there ... he couldn't do anything - black smoke was just billowing out that window," DiSimone told the Staten Island Advance. "So I went underneath - he threw him right to me and I caught his son."

The man also threw his young daughter to Cerzosie, DiSimone said. The children, believed to be 5 and 3, were treated by emergency officials and seemed to be OK but shaken up, he said. Firefighters were eventually able to get to their father as well, he added.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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