14 Hurt in 5-Alarm Fire in Upper Manhattan: FDNY

WNBC 4 - January 09, 2018

by NBC Local

The Washington Heights apartment building fire in which 14 people were hurt appears to have started in a toaster, FDNY officials say. FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro says the five-alarm blaze at Riverside Drive and West 157th Street started just before 2 p.m., starting in a kitchen on the second floor and racing up a dumbwaiter shaft.

Firefighters had difficulty knocking out the fire in very cold conditions and getting to flames through a hard-to-reach, wide-open cockloft, according to Nigro. Normally, crews have to cut through a roof or ceiling to fight those kinds of fires. Nine residents, four police officers and one firefighter had non-life threatening injuries from the fire.

There was a working smoke alarm in the apartment, and it did activate, Nigro said.

The six-story apartment building, which was built in 1920, houses 133 units, authorities say. It's about a dozen blocks from the site of a massive inferno that devoured a century-old apartment building in November and left nine people injured.