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Inwood Fire Leaves 13 Families Homeless

By Farran Powell | August 21, 2012 7:32am

INWOOD — More than a dozen families were still without a home Monday after a fire tore through a residential building on West 207th Street Saturday night, leaving the structure largely uninhabitable. 

The fire swept through the first floor of 639 W. 207th Street and shot up to the rooftop of the building when a hallway door was left open as a resident tried to escape, fire officials said.

The blaze, which injured four people, was contained within an hour, but left many of the apartments unlivable from water and smoke damage.

The Department of Buildings issued a vacate order Saturday night that is still in effect. 

The American Red Cross Greater New York Region responded to the families Saturday night and placed two families in shelters, as well as giving them money, food and clothing, according to the agency. 

"In many instances, people would prefer to stay with families and friends," agency spokesman Michael De Vulpillieres said. 

The office of Councilman Robert Jackson, which represents the district, began working with city agencies immediately following the fire.

"I am deeply saddened that families were affected by this fire," said Jackson, urging those in need to contact his office. "It must be a terrible experience to be displaced from your home."

State Sen. Adriano Espaillat is currently working with Jackson and the Red Cross on assisting the families, according to his office.

Assemblyman Guillermo Linares, who also represents upper Manhattan, did not respond to requests for comment.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to the FDNY.