1 Dead, Others Hurt in Manhattan High Rise Fire: FDNY

WNBC 4 - January 08, 2019

by Ida Siegal

A fire broke out on the third floor of a Manhattan high rise Monday morning, leaving a 71-year-old man dead, according to police.

Fire officials say they received a call around 10:17 a.m. of the fire on the third floor of a single room-occupancy building on 87th Street and Amsterdam. The victim was found unconscious and unresponsive inside an apartment, NYPD says.

"He was removed to the lobby, where first-aid efforts were started, and then turned over to emergency medical services, where he was pronounced deceased," said FDNY Chief Anthony Pascocello.

His identity has not been made public pending family notification.

According to FDNY, building sprinklers were activated after the fire started in a room inside the building which houses "permanent residences" for people who were homeless or who have special needs. The building is single-room occupancy, meaning every apartment is one room only.

It is unclear why the victim was unable to evacuate. Additionally, two people were hurt, one of them seriously.

The building is run by Goddard Riverside, a non-profit, and has staff on hand to assist the residents with daily living needs.

"It's a pretty big loss," said Dr. Roderick Jones, executive director at Goddard Riverside. "Anytime we lose one of our tenants, it's pretty devastating to the staff."

Resident Eartha Johnson lives in the apartment below the victim's and said the man who lived there was a good, kind neighbor.

"He's a sweey man, always stay to himself," she said. "I always ask him about his cat. Come to find out he passed away. It's really heartbreaking."

Footage from the scene showed a number of broken windows. The cause of the fire is under investigation.