Dozens of Westbury residents were displaced when a fire burned through their two-story apartment building Saturday afternoon, fire officials said.
About 30 people living in the building in the Westwood Village complex on Brush Hollow Road were not able to return to their apartments. The blaze damaged 12 of the building's 16 units, said Jericho Fire Department Chief Kerry Ketsoglou.
Three firefighters suffered minor injuries, but no residents were hurt, authorities said.
Greig Matthew, 37, said he was home alone when firefighters banged on his door and told him to get out. It appeared that his apartment was not seriously damaged, he said.
"I just grabbed what I could and ran out the back," said Matthew, who has lived in the building for about a year. "This is the first time in my life I've dealt with anything like this."
Robert Fisk, regional property manager for Home Properties Inc., the Rochester-based owner of Westwood Village, said the company had contacted the Red Cross about housing displaced residents.
"We are going to do what we can to help the residents of the building; see what we can do to help with accommodations," Fisk said.
About 125 firefighters from 15 departments responded to the fast-moving blaze, which started about 4 p.m., fire officials said.
"A wind-driven fire like this just pushes the fire through the building, throughout the attic space," said Westbury Fire Department Assistant Chief Kenneth Gass. "It really complicated things for us and made the attack much harder."
Nassau County fire marshals were investigating the cause of the fire, Gass said.
Firefighters could be seen spraying water on the building from three ladders, before putting out the blaze at about 5:30 p.m.
Matthew, whose wife and two children were on vacation in Florida, and he said he was anxious to get back into the apartment to make sure their personal possessions were safe.
"My kids' birth certificates, our Social Security cards, our passports -- everything was in there," he said.
By 7 p.m. the Red Cross was trying to help him locate a hotel where he could stay in the meantime.
"It looks like we're not going to be living there for a while because they turned off the gas and they turned off the heat," he said.