About 20 people were displaced Friday night after a fire ripped through two apartments inside a 14-unit town-house complex in Albertson, officials said.

Residents of the two units engulfed in flames were on vacation and nobody was inside when the blaze erupted around 6:15 p.m., said Jason Lasek, assistant chief at the Albertson Fire Company.

Firefighters responded to 153 I.U. Willets Road after a passing Nassau County police officer saw the burning apartments and called for help.

Approximately 100 firefighters from 12 fire departments responded and had the blaze contained about two hours later, Lasek said. Nobody was injured in the fire.

The episode could’ve been far more dangerous if it wasn’t for quick-thinking firefighters who noticed structural failure in the apartments and ordered everyone out to prevent injury, Lasek said.

The ceiling eventually collapsed onto the second floor, Lasek said. Moments later, the second floor also caved, he said.

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“It was a pretty severe fire,” Lasek said, “but it was well contained to the two apartments.”

Two dogs inside a neighboring apartment were rescued and returned safely to their owners, he added.

Because of the frigid temperatures, displaced residents were taken to the Albertson firehouse before they moved in with either nearby family members or an American Red Cross affiliated facility, officials said.

Residents were later allowed into the complex only to retrieve belongings. They will only be allowed to return once the Town of North Hempstead Building Department deems the complex safe. It’s unclear how long that will take.

Officials have yet to determine what caused the fire. The Nassau County Fire Marshall’s office is currently investigating the blaze.

Lasek said the fire department has been in contact with the vacationing families affected by the fire.


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Rashed Mian has been covering local news for the Long Island Press since 2011. He graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 where he studied print journalism. Rashed, the staff's multimedia reporter, covers daily news for the web, shoots/edits feature videos and writes about civil liberties. He loves Afghan food and sports. Rashed is also a caffeine freak. Email: rmian@longislandpress.com. Twitter: rashedmian