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Massive Jackson Heights blaze wipes out entire Queens block

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An out-of-control fire tore through an entire Queens block Saturday, consuming 13 business and forcing over 100 people to flee their homes.

The four-alarm fire erupted just before 10 a.m. and burned for three-and-a-half hours - spewing smoke that could be seen for miles around Jackson Heights - before 200 firefighters were able to get it under control, FDNY officials said.

Investigators believe the blaze ignited in the Acme Furniture store on 37th Ave. and quickly spread to the neighboring businesses - including the "Total Relax" skincare salon owned by Yolanda Mitsis.

"I'm losing my mind right now. Everything I have is there," said Mitsis, 57, a Colombia immigrant who poured her savings into her business.

"All my money, everything I've worked to buy over 25 years. This is my life," she said. "I can't believe my eyes."

Chairs, beds and dressers were strewn on the sidewalk in front of Acme Furniture, pulled from the store as firefighters raced inside to battle the flames.

Part of the ceiling collapsed but didn't land on anyone, officials said.

"I was sitting getting ready for work and the smoke was small, just coming out of the furniture store," said witness Liliana Santamaria, 26, who works at a restaurant across the street.

"Then 15 minutes later the whole corner was engulfed," she said. "It spread so fast." Four firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The cause was under investigation late Saturday.

Daily News
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