that a fire on the 29th floor of a high rise in East Harlem, near Central Park, has left 12 people hurt, including three who are fighting for their lives, fire officials said. FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Michael Gala Jr. told reporters the blaze started just after 6:38 a.m. in the building, located on 5th Avenue and Duke Ellington Circle.
“Our units arrived in under four minutes and made their way up to the 29th floor, where we had a heavy fire condition in one apartment,” he said.
Firefighters forced there way into the unit and found two people in a hallway in the apartment, Gala said. Those people were pulled out of the apartment and firefighters went back into the unit, he said. Four more people in the unit were brought out of the building down, down to the street and were rushed to hospitals. Three of them suffered what Gala called “serious, life-threatening injuries,” including a man and a 6-year-old girl who were removed from the building while in cardiac arrest.
A second girl, age 1 1/2, was in respiratory arrest, Gala said, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.
“We had no operational difficulties,” Gala said. “No problems with the elevators in this 35 story building and our members were able to quickly extinguish the fire.”
Gala did acknowledge it was a challenge for firefighters to deal with heavy heat and smoke in the hallway. He said there was also “zero visibility.”
“They were operating in the dark,” said Gala.
The fire marshal is investigating.
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“As of now we don’t see anything suspicious,” Gala said. “The cause and origin will be determined by our fire marshals.”
The building was “fire proof,” Gala said, and wasn’t evacuated.
No one heard any smoke detectors going off, he said. Investigators are looking to see whether the unit has smoke alarms.
The apartment sustained major damage.
Photo from an earlier fire at a different location.