FDNY Reports Fatal Harlem Fire With Individuals Left Hanging From Building

February 24, 2024

A tragic fire engulfed a building in Harlem, resulting in one fatality and a dramatic rescue operation by FDNY firefighters.

The blaze, which occurred Friday at 2:15 pm EST on West 149th Street and St. Nicholas Place, left 18 individuals affected, with five critically injured, according to FDNY officials.

Intense smoke and flames forced occupants onto window ledges and fire escapes, with one individual seen dangling off the building in footage initially reported by the New York Daily News.

ABC 7 NYC, reported that Jason Lopez, a probationary firefighter was one of those rescuers, putting his life on the line with less than a year on the job.

“We always train like the real thing so when the real thing happens, we know what we’re doing,” Lopez said.

FDNY Chief of Department John Hodgens revealed that firefighters executed three rope rescues, rappelling from the building’s roof to extract people from upper floors—an uncommon occurrence said at a press conference.

Hodgens noted the rarity of such maneuvers, stating, “We usually have one of these a year, or two. Three times today, which as I said, very unusual.”

NY Post wrote, Hodgens praised the firefighters for safely deploying the daring rescue method.

Firefighter Jason Lopez said his team practices the life-saving rope evolution every Monday and Tuesday in the rare event they have to put the drill to use.

“We always train like the real thing. So when the real thing happens, we know what we’re doing,” Lopez said.

The fire erupted around 2 p.m., rapidly spreading through the six-story structure.

Firefighters discovered three victims unconscious inside the building, NY 1 reported, that Police said the person who died was a 27-year-old man who was found trapped inside the building and suffered smoke inhalation. 

Another person who is currently in critical condition was transported to Mount Sinai Morningside Hospital, the NYPD said.

The American Red Cross said it has opened a reception center at PS/IS 210, where impacted families can register for emergency assistance, and get blankets and hot meals. The agency added that it will also remain on scene to support impacted families, such as Astou Fall and her family.

Photo credit: 1) NYC.gov, Screenshot. 2) NYC. gov. Youtube.

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