A Spring Valley apartment complex fire left two dozen people homeless, killed five cats and injured a Ramapo police officer, according to multiple sources.
The fire started on the second floor around 7 p.m. at 108 Union Road and quickly moved to the unit next door, fire officials said.
More than a 100 firefighters and first-responders arrived within minutes to help rescue the residents and animals and douse the flames. The Spring Hill Community Ambulance Corps was able to rescue one cat and worked hard to save others that unfortunately perished.
All 13 families of 53 people were able to escape without injury, but one woman lost five cats and a Ramapo officer who stopped to help received an injury to his foot and suffered from smoke inhalation. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
The officer said when he arrived on scene he saw flames and smoke coming through the top of the apartment complex. He rushed to make sure that no one was trapped and had to kick open several doors in the process.
Frighten residents fled from their apartments and stood outside as firefighters had the blaze under control within a half-hour, officials said.
One woman, whose one-year-old son was at the complex with his grandfather, learned about the fire at her home by telephone. She frantically drove home to find that her son and her father had escaped unharmed.
Red Cross officials said they are helping the families which include 28 adults and 25 children. A shelter has been opened on Main Street where food and other help is being offered.
Firefighters remained on scene until at least 9 p.m. to watch for hot spots and monitor the complex. The cause of the fire is under investigation, officials said.
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