Aug 15, 2016, 12:24 pmAug 15, 2016, 11:41 pm

More than 70 people displaced by huge fire at Yonkers apt. building

3 adults and 3 children had to be rescued by firefighters

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More than 70 people are without homes tonight, after a large fire in a five-story apartment building in Yonkers.

It's a heartbreaking situation at the Police Athletic League Center in Yonkers, where 76 people will sleep tonight on cots, after losing their homes in a massive blaze.

One of those displaced, Thomas Gilles says, "I asked the fireman if I can come upstairs to get some of my things and he let me. He says be careful walking up the stairs and I did because it was slippery and treacherous."

Gilles, who lives at 28 Caryl Ave., says he was at work when he found out about the fire. Without any relatives to stay with, he is one of many without a home.

"It's an awful feeling, you pray that it never happens to you but it did,” says Gilles. “I was telling a lot of people that number one — thank God it didn't happen during the night, number two — thank God it didn't happen during the winter time. I was very grateful for that."

The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter for the families who lost their homes in the fire that started around 10 a.m. Monday.

"A place to stay, it’s a cool place where they can rest, they can have water, they can have food, emotional support, support with any health or medical needs, things like that," says Eli Russ of the American Red Cross.

Around 80 firefighters helped to put out the fire. Six people were trapped inside, but firefighters were able to get them all to safety.

The Red Cross says the shelter will remain open for the time being.

For Gilles, he says positivity is the only way to survive this tragedy. "How am I staying so positive? Well I'm a Roman Catholic, I read the Bible every day and I thank God I wasn't hurt,” says Gilles. “I lost my apartment but in time, everything is going to come back together."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.



Nyack, New York
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