Four-Alarm Astoria Fire Injures 14

NY 1 - March 30, 2011

Thirteen firefighters were injured after a four-alarm fire in Queens on Tuesday.

The fast-moving fire broke out just after 7 a.m. at a building that houses Flo Cafe and several apartments on 30th Avenue in Astoria.

It took firefighters more than five hours to get it under control.

Although the cause is unknown, officials believed the fire started in the basement of the restaurant.

"I went downstairs into the kitchen and I noticed the boil room was on fire, filled with smoke," said Flo Cafe manager and building resident Mark Atkocaitis. "So I knew it's 7 o'clock in the morning, not everyone was awake, so I went back upstairs to get everybody. You know, banging on all the doors to get everybody out, and then came back downstairs to the restaurant and just called the police."

An employee at the restaurant was also hurt.

All the injuries are said to be minor.

The fire chief said recent renovations to the restaurant hindered firefighters' ability to put out the flames.

The Red Cross is helping tenants displaced by the fire.