Fire officials said smoke and flames broke out around 1:15 p.m. at 726 Van Nest Avenue in the Morris Park section. The fire started at one building and then spread to the others and at one point, a ceiling collapsed trapping two firefighters inside.
"Two firefighters were rescued inside the fire building," said Fire Assistant Chief Ron Spadafora. The two firefighters sent to Jacobi Medical Center with minor injuries
200 firefighters swarmed the area and seven more firefighters were rushed to the hospital, many of them suffering from smoke inhalation -- bringing the total to nine in the hospital and 20 firefighters hurt in the aftermath.
All of the firefighters are expected to be ok.
"When you hear firefighters (calling) mayday, it gets the blood rising," Spadafora said.
Because the smoke was so thick the NYPD made neighbors stay away as far as possible. Police said at least 10 families are now homeless. Many of the people who live around here had a tough time even breathing.
Fire officials say no one else was hurt, although firefighters got here within minutes they say the flames and smoke were already in full force.
Witnesses said if the FDNY didn't act as quickly and coordinated as they did the entire block could have gone up in smoke.
"They got the fire hose up from the trucka and where able to get everything under control," said one local resident.
The FDNY said the cause of the fire is still under investigation and the local Red Cross is here helping those families now homeless.