Two Injured in 116th Street Fire and Apartment Floor Collapse

DNAinfo - September 01, 2011

by Jeff Mays, DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

EAST HARLEM - A fire broke out inside a residential building on East 116th Street Wednesday afternoon - leading a bathroom to collapse and injuring two people, authorities said.

The blaze began inside a fifth-floor apartment at the six-story building at 101 E. 116th St., near Park Avenue, about 2:30 p.m., the FDNY said.

The fire then spread to the top floor, causing a bathroom sink to fall through to the floor below, an FDNY chief said at the scene. The blaze was brought under control about 3:30 p.m., authorities added.

One person was taken to Mt. Sinai Medical Center with serious but not life-threatening injuries, the FDNY said. A firefighter was taken to St. Luke's Hospital with minor injuries.

The FDNY chief added that work was being done inside the fifth-floor apartment where the blaze originated. Department of Buildings officials were at the site to investigate.

Residents said they smelled smoke and heard screams as the fire spread.

"I was going to take a shower, but then I heard my neighbor screaming," said Maria Calderon-Cuba, who lives on the third floor. "I looked out the door and saw smoke and her running down the stairs."

Gregory Garcia was going to visit his parents on the fourth floor when he smelled smoke in the elevator.

"My mother didn't believe me," he said, "but then I opened the door and we heard people screaming."