The fire broke out in a three-story residential building on Saratoga Avenue just before 2:30 p.m.
The building houses apartments on all three floors.
No injuries were immediately reported.
The fire had been placed almost under control when it suddenly flared up again around 5:30 p.m.
Flames ripped through the roof of the home on Saratoga Avenue and climbed into the cloudless sky.
Stuck in the space between walls, and climbing to the ceiling, the fire collapsed much of the roof and left at least 20 people, six families, homeless on a frigid winter day.
Everyone lost virtually everything they own.
Firefighters struggled with the blaze for hours, attacking from above.
But with the fire still going strong and the roof already collapsing, firefighters marched into the house, even searching the top floors to make sure no one was trapped, not knowing if the roof would hold or collapse on top of them.
Some residents said they'd had electrical issues in the past and thought the fire might have started because of that, several people said they were using space heaters.
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