Kitchen Fire Sends Smoke, Flames through 41-Story Apartment Building in Upper East Side, Leaving More Than 20 Injured

NY Daily News - January 15, 2020


A minor kitchen fire sent smoke flooding through an Upper East Side apartment building early Tuesday, leaving more than 20 people injured, including a child and several firefighters.

The blaze started around 2 a.m. in an apartment on the 24th floor of a building on E. 72nd St. near York Ave., according to fire officials.

Two people were found unconscious inside the apartment where the fire started, authorities said. They were rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

The fire started in the kitchen of that apartment and the two opened the apartment door in an attempt to escape but didn’t make it out.

“The occupants left the door to the fire apartment open, which caused the fire to come out into the hallway, down the hallway, and send smoke throughout the upper floors of the building,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Joseph Ferrante.

“It turned a kitchen fire, a one-room kitchen fire, into a fire that spread throughout the upper floors of the building,” he added. “Had the door been closed, this would have been one apartment, one room fire.”

Two other people in the 41-story building were taken to the hospital with serious injuries, authorities said. Four firefighters suffered minor injuries. Fourteen others, including at least one child, were also treated for minor injuries. The blaze is the second in the span of 24-hours to worsen because an apartment door was left open, according to the FDNY.

Monday morning a fire broke out on the first floor of a four-story apartment building on Benson Ave. near 24th Ave. in Brooklyn. The flames spread after the front door to the apartment was left open, allowing the blaze to enter the hallway and smoke to spread throughout the building.

Five people were injured in that fire, with one person suffering serious injuries and another critically injured, authorities said.

“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,” Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in a statement. “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.”