The fire started broke out around 2 a.m. in the kitchen of an apartment on the 24th floor of the 41-story building on East 72nd Street, near the FDR Drive, according to FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Joseph Ferrante.
The people in that apartment opened their door in a bid to escape but ended up losing consciousness, allowing smoke and flames to spread to other parts of the building, according to Ferrante.
“The door opened is what changed this fire completely,” Ferrante said. “It turned a one-room kitchen fire into a fire that spread throughout the upper floors of the building. We had multiple, numerous phone calls from apartments above, all the way to the roof, complaining of smoke, people trapped, all due to the fact that door was left open. Had the door been closed, this would have been a one-apartment, one-room fire.”