FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro is urging all Big Apple residents to “close the door” during a fire — on the heels of a pair of serious blazes in Manhattan and Brooklyn within 24 hours that injured a total of 27 people.
“If you are escaping a fire in your home or apartment, I strongly urge all New Yorkers to ‘close the door’ to reduce the spread of fire,” Nigro said in a statement Tuesday.
“Leaving a door open allows the fire to grow rapidly, spread throughout the building, and puts the lives of building occupants and responding firefighters in grave danger.”
Nigro made the comments following an early Tuesday kitchen fire that tore through a luxury high-rise on the Upper East Side and injured 22 people.
The fire started just before 2 a.m. in the kitchen of an apartment on the 24th floor of the 41-story building at 515 East 72nd St., but quickly spread into the hallway and engulfed the building in smoke because the door was left open after two occupants inside tried to flee, officials said.
Firefighters found the two people unconscious “outside of the doorway, but in the hall,” and they were hospitalized in critical condition, Nigro later told reporters during a press conference at the scene.
Another fire spread inside a four-story apartment building in Gravesend, Brooklyn Monday morning and injured five people – one critically — thanks to an apartment door that was left open, the FDNY said.
The blaze erupted on the first-floor of the building at 2402 Benson Ave. around 9 a.m. and spread beyond the apartment when its front door was left open.
“In the past 24 hours here in New York — one fire here on East 72nd Street, the other in Gravesend, Brooklyn injured 27 people,” Nigro said during the press conference. “Three of those people were occupants of the fire apartment where the fire originated. The other 24 injuries could have been prevented had the apartment door been closed when the occupants left.”
“So we will repeat as we do over and over and over ‘close the door, close the door, close the door,’” Nigro said.
The commissioner pointed to a similar situation that happened on Dec. 28, 2017, when a five-alarm fire ripped through a Bronx apartment building at 2363 Prospect Ave., killing 13 people and making it the deadliest fire in New York City in 25 years.
The door to the apartment where that fire broke out was left open, allowing smoke and flames to spread throughout the hallway, staircase and every floor of the building.
Nigro noted that under New York City law “doors are required to be self-closing in multiple dwellings.”
Closing a door isolates fire and prevents smoke and flames from invading the common areas of an apartment building, according to the FDNY. Shutting a door to a fire in a private home can also prevent the spread of flames throughout the property.