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Crews battled intense apartment fire

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Crews battled intense apartment fire
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Flames rip through an apartment complex in Binghamton, causing dozens of families to evacuate early Sunday morning. As our Elyse Mickalonis explains, the fire was strong enough to keep crews on scene throughout the day Sunday.

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- "It was just like the grand opening of some movie, red lights, blue lights, green lights and then boom, saw nothing but smoke,” said Luis Negron, Binghamton Resident.

The beginnings of a fire that had Binghamton crews battling hot spots more than 12 hours after it started.

"The original first alarm was about quarter of 12 last night. Initially, they made an interior attack; but, the fire was well-advanced when they got in there. So, they had to back out and go into a defensive operation,” said Steve Faughnan, Binghamton FD Assistant Fire Chief.

Connie Hawley, Binghamton Resident, added, "My cousin lived on the second floor. This is the second fire she’s been through. I’m at a loss for words, because she doesn’t have much stuff in there and I don’t know what to do for her."

Crews say the fire started on the 3rd floor of 259 Main Street and burned through the roof. Flames then jumped to a neighboring building connected to the rest of the apartment complex. Some neighbors were told to leave their homes, in case it jumped again.

"It was blazing, the building next door. I went around the back to come out the back door and it almost sounded like an explosion. Me and a friend of mine were talking out back and it was like ‘boom,’ the flames were blazing,” said Roland Jennings, Binghamton Resident.

Firefighters say working smoke detectors and a sprinkler system helped residents escape safely.

The fire has left 17 families homeless. The Red Cross helped evacuate people early Sunday morning and provided shelter for 41 people at St. Mary’s Recreation Center on Hawley Street in Binghamton. Investigators are still looking into what ignited the fire.

To donate or get more information about The American Red Cross call (607)-785-7207 or visit www.redcross.org/ny/endicott.

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