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Two Firefighters Injured in Bedford Avenue Blaze

By Ben Fractenberg | January 22, 2013 2:39pm | Updated on January 22, 2013 4:52pm

WILLIAMSBURG — A large fire broke out in a Bedford Avenue building in Williamsburg Tuesday afternoon, injuring two firefighters, officials said.

The massive blaze started in the top floors of 175 Bedford Ave., near North 7th Street, just before 2 p.m. and the fire spread to the building next door, which houses the popular Ella Cafe, the Fire Department said.

The two firefighters were trapped when a ceiling partially collapsed in 175 Bedford. The firefighters were taken to New York Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

One of the building's residents, Diana Whitten, was at work in Manhattan when she heard about the fire.

When she got home, the top floors of the building where she lived for 12 years was on fire.

"I saw smoke," she said while crying.

Another woman was home in nearby building when the fire started.

"I saw flames shooting out of the building. I heard yelling," said Sarah Miller who lives on nearby Driggs Avenue. "[Firefighters] were asking, "Is everyone is alright? Is everyone alright?"

Joseph Grillo, who lives on the top floor of 177 Bedford, was not home at the time, but his wife and cat escaped unharmed.

"I was at work and my wife called me," he said. "I'm not taking this well. This is sort of hard to take in."

Nearly 200 firefighters were working to get the blaze under control, the FDNY said. The cafe did not appear to be badly damaged.

The city's Office of Emergency Management advised drivers to expect traffic delays in the area.

Additional reporting by Theodore Parisienne