Robert De Niro's NYC Apartment Catches Fire

Robert De Niro on May 18, 2012 in Cannes, France. Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Longtime New Yorker Robert De Niro's apartment caught fire Friday after lint in a clothes dryer sparked flames, the New York Post reports.

The fire began in De Niro's residence -- located next to Central Park on NYC's Upper West Side -- around 2 pm, and firefighters took nearly an hour to battle the intense blaze, which quickly spread to the entire fifth floor.

"The dryer in [De Niro's unit] caused the fire," Battalion Chief Mike Meyers tells The Post.

According to Meyers, the entire floor where the Oscar-winning actor and family resides suffered severe damage; the building's 4th and 6th floors were also damaged by the flames, smoke, and water.

"I had a real hard time getting out of the building. The smoke was so dark and heavy, it was hard to breathe," one of De Niro's 6th floor neighbors said.

"Right above my head these 12 foot tall flames exploded out of the fifth floor window," an eyewitness, who was driving by in his car at the time, told the paper.

De Niro is currently married to actress Grace Hightower, with whom he has two children, Elliot and Helen. No word yet on if the 68-year-old actor or his family were at home when the fire broke out.