At least 14 Injured in Manhattan Apartment Fire

NY Post - January 09, 2018

by Gina Daidone and Stephanie Pagones

At least 14 people were injured — including four cops and a firefighter — when a kitchen toaster caught fire in a Washington Heights apartment building Monday, authorities said.

Two of those injured were seriously hurt although expected to survive, officials said. They were both residents of the building, authorities said. The others suffered minor injuries.

The blaze started around 1:45 p.m. on the second floor of the building at 775 Riverside Drive and quickly spread to the rest of the six-story structure, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro at a press conference at the scene.

Nigro said the fire appeared to have been caused by a toaster in the kitchen of a second-floor apartment.

The smoke alarm inside the apartment did activate, he said.

The flames spread quickly to the top floor through a dumbwaiter shaft that traveled from the ground floor to the top of the almost century-old building, which houses 133 apartments.

“It appears…it started [when] a woman was making toast,” he said. “The fire quickly spread into the entire top floor.”

Of the 14 people injured, nine were occupants, four victims were police officers, and one was a firefighter, Nigro said.

Nigro warned that the number of victims is likely to climb before the fire is completely extinguished.

“I’m sure the number will go up,” he predicted. “It’s very tough conditions — it’s very cold…There’ll be some more injuries to our members, but as of now there’s been one.”

Longtime resident Ruth Nunez, who has lived in her third-floor apartment since 1990, said she has “never seen anything like this before.”

Nunez was on her way home from work when she heard about the fire from her husband.

“I came tired from work, I was thinking to rest and watch the news and the news is here,” she said. “As long as everyone is okay, material things can be replaced.”