20 Suffer Smoke Inhalation in Harlem High-Rise Fire: FDNY

WABC - October 05, 2016

by Ray Villeda

Twenty people were hurt in a quick-moving high-rise fire in Harlem Monday, fire officials say.

The fire broke out inside a trash compactor on the 10th floor of the building at 1350 Fifth Ave. in Harlem at about 7:30 p.m., then quickly spread from cellar to ceiling, according to the FDNY.

The blaze was extinguished about a half-hour later but heavy smoke lingered through the building, leaving about 20 people hurt from smoke inhalation.

Resident Angelic Santiago huddled with her children in the bathroom of their ninth-floor apartment as smoke filled the hallway and firefighters went from door to door, either instructing people on how to shelter in place or knocking down doors when they didn't hear a response.

"They told me wait up there because it was really bad," she later told NBC 4 New York. "I thought I was going to die, like, the way eveything looked, my kids were panicking."

Sixteen people inside the building were treated on the scene, along with seven firefighters. All had minor injuries.

A message has been left with New York City Housing Authority, which owns the building.