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A resident is dead and firefighters hurt in a fire at a New York senior center

One resident is dead and two firefighters injured following a fire at a residential assisted-living center in New York City’s northern suburbs, the Rockland County fire coordinator said early Tuesday.

“We’re still working to account for all the other residents that were rescued and taken from the building” in Spring Valley, Chris Kear said, adding that it’s believed “most are accounted for.”

Some 20 to 25 residents were rescued, he said.

“The building is a total loss,” Kear said, adding it’s a “very difficult fire to battle right now.” Teams are working to quell hot spots to make the scene safe for investigators.

The resident who perished was pronounced dead at a hospital, Kear said. One firefighter has been released from a hospital, while another will remain hospitalized for observation.

One firefighter earlier had been reported missing for about an hour inside the fire, Trooper Steven Nevel of New York State Police’s Troop F said around 4 a.m. ET. Another firefighter had suffered a heart attack and was taken to a hospital with injuries, he said.

Kear did not address those reports by Nevel.

State fire investigators from Albany are on scene and will investigate, Kear said. The massive response included 23 of the 26 fire departments in Rockland County, he said.

State police are also sending a K9 unit and supervisors, and seniors from the center were being bussed out of the area, Nevel told CNN. Spring Valley is about 40 miles north of midtown Manhattan.

Seniors in wheelchairs whisked from danger

Spring Valley resident Hershey Green and others saw the flames and ran in to help residents, he told CNN affiliate WCBS.

They “literally ran in and helped out with the seniors,” Green said as flames continued to burn through the building behind him. “There was plenty of just good Samaritans out here, about eight of them that literally ran into the building and bring them out in the wheelchairs, walkers, and literally picking them up and physically removing them out of the danger.”

Residents were put onto a school bus as their home burned, Greed told WCBS.

“They were speechless. It was really traumatic to see that,” he said. “Watching their facility, their home going down in flames was something really traumatic.”

Firefighters doused the building with water as towering flames tore through what was left of the structure, video shows.

Raymond Rodriguez was staying at his uncle’s apartment near the senior center when the fire started, he told CNN affiliate WABC.

Rodriguez could see firefighters pull two people from the fire, he said.

“It’s just a sad day for the people of this town” he told WABC, adding that firefighters evacuated people to the courtyard in the building where he was staying as they fought the blaze.

The vinyl siding of the apartment building appeared melted and warped, WABC video shows.

Charles Crippen, who lives in the building with the melted siding, was prepared to leave his home if the fire spread, he said.

“It’s pretty devastating,” he told WABC. “That’s a lot of old folks that was living over there, handicapped and stuff like that, and they are all out of a home now.”

CNN has reached out to multiple agencies and officials for more information.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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