Restaurant explodes as fire rips through several businesses

At least 12 people were injured including seven firefighters in a fire that ripped through several stores in Sunnyside, Queens early Thursday morning.

The injuries were not life-threatening.

At least a dozen firefighters were in the immediate area when an apparent "smoke explosion" erupted and the roof collapsed, said Assistant Fire Chief Anthony DeVita Jr. 

"The chiefs on scene were proactive," he said. "They saw this was an advanced fire and they began to back the troops out. Because they took that action, that more than likely prevented more serious injuries."

Six businesses were destroyed in the blaze including 45-02 Queens Blvd. 

The fire reached five alarms. It began inside a restaurant at about 2:15 a.m., said FDNY officials.

Nearly 200 firefighters and emergency personnel responded to the scene. 

The origin and cause of the fire are under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.