Chinatown Fire Sends Dozens Fleeing For Their Lives, But No One Seriously Injured: Fire Officials

NY Daily News - December 21, 2010

by Sarah Armaghan AND Rocco Parascandola

A Chinatown fire early Tuesday morning sent two dozen people running for their lives, including two who had to be rescued from the roof, fire officials and witnesses said.

There were no serious injuries to residents in the 2:55 a.m. blaze, fire officials said. A resident's pet rabbit and pet wolverine were killed, though she was able to save her two cats, the officials said.

The blaze, possibly caused by an electrical problem, broke out in a second-floor spa at 29 E. Broadway and quickly spread, according to FDNY Deputy Chief John Bley.

Flames darted up through space to accommodate plumbing pipe then moved horizontally through the cockloft, the space between the top floor and the roof, Bley said.

The owner of the building, who gave her name as Kelly, said the building has 12 apartments and about 24 residents.

"Every floor has sprinklers, so that probably helped," she said. "They said the building is uninhabitable because they took the roof off. The Red Cross is taking names to put them up in a hotel nearby. As long as everyone's out and safe and OK that's all that matters.

"I just want to see that everyone has somewhere to go."

Bley said firefighters rescued two residents from the roof and two others from inside the building. Others got out before firefighters arrived - some barely dressed - and took refuge in a nearby bank lobby.