by LINDSAY FABER
A 5-year-old boy playing with matches caused a blaze in a Harlem apartment building yesterday that took an 1? hours to knock down and resulted in 19 minor injuries, fire officials said.
The report of the fire at the six-story building loacted at 680 Riverside Drive, near 145th Street, came in at 3:46 p.m. and took more than 140 firefighters from 40 units to battle. The four alarm fire was put under control at 5:11 p.m., a Fire Department spokeswoman said.
But fire sources said the boy's family tried to put the fire out themselves and only called the Fire Department after the blaze grew too big for them to handle.
The boy, who lives in a third-floor apartment in the building, dropped a lit match between the wall and the bed in a bedroom, the sources said. The fire grew so big it reached the fourth and fifth floor of the building.
Ten firefighters suffered strains and sprains and nine residents suffered smoke-related injuries.
They were all treated at area hospitals.
None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.