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Fiery blaze ousts residents

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The heroics of city firefighters and local residents kept the two-alarm fire from becoming deadly, but three firefighters and three residents sustained injuries, two of them serious, as a result of the blaze.More than 100 firefighters battled the fire, which started on the second floor of a three-story home at 95-86 113th St. and completely destroyed two of the three apartments inside, according to FDNY officials. FDNY officials said the incident was not deemed suspicious and that the cause of the fire was under investigation.Morgan Sookoo, 49, was listed in critical condition at Cornell Burn Center in Manhattan Monday after sustaining third-degree burns over much of his body, hospital officials said. Another woman, who officials did not identify, was in serious condition at Cornell after sustaining head injuries and burns. Witnesses said several residents in the building leaped from their windows to escape the blaze, but heavy fire prevented Sookoo from doing so. "It happened within the blink of an eye," said neighbor Laura Knee, who described flames exploding from the building's windows. "One woman jumped out a window head first. The other guy (Sookoo) couldn't make it. He had to go back in the building." Firefighter Victor Milukas, who grew up on the same block where the fire occurred, was able to beat back the flames with a group of firefighters and pull Sookoo out. Afterward, Milukas praised the work of his fellow firefighters in sticking together to make the daring rescue."It's never a one-man job," he said. "We just got together and did what we could." While firefighters worked to save Sookoo, neighbors Manmeaner Singh, Ninda Singh, and Sukhdev Singh grabbed a blanket with two city police officers and performed some heroics of their own, catching Sookoo's 20-year-old cousin Marissa Singh as she jumped out the window of her apartment. Manmeaner Singh said they had been praying at the Baba Makhan Shah Lobana Sikh Temple across the street when they saw Marissa hanging out a third-floor window, screaming and crying. "She didn't want to jump, she was scared, but we forced her to jump," Manmeaner Singh said. "I did not do anything, God did it. He did it to save her life."Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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