Centennial Celebration
21 Injured in Blaze at High-Rise NYC Apartment Building

NY Daily News - December 23, 2016

by ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE JOHN ANNESE GRAHAM RAYMAN

A 7-year-old girl was saved by fast-acting neighbors and medics in a raging fire at a Manhattan high-rise that left 21 people, including two infants, injured Thursday afternoon.

The blaze temporarily trapped people on the upper floors of the building on W. 59th St. near 10th Ave. and sent nine residents scrambling to the roof for safety around 5 p.m., officials said.

Flames ignited in a third-floor apartment in the 33-story building.

In all, the blaze injured 21 people — two critically — including four firefighters, said FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard. The cause remains under investigation.

The little girl went into cardiac arrest on the 21st floor. A group of neighbors did CPR on her until she was taken outside, where she was revived. Leonard said she is expected to recover. The fire also left two babies, each about 1 year old, in serious condition, officials said.

The blaze trapped designer Brian Santoro on the 13th floor of the building, as smoke filled the hallways. “I was cooking and no fire alarms went off so I didn't notice,” he said.

A friend of his ran into the hallway and saw the black and grey smoke. He looked out his window and saw flames roaring out of a window on the third floor.

Rebeka Bernstein, 35, lives nearby and saw flames bursting out of the building's third floor windows. "There were flames shooting out the windows. I've lived here my whole life and never seen anything like this," she said.

Panicked residents sent messages to the FDNY via Twitter.

"Hey, a sis of a friend is stuck in 14H with another resident on the same floor — please send help!" wrote Twitter user Michael Turkell.

Kyla Rodgers tweeted a plea to send help to apartment 29M.

"Tell her to call 911 and report the apartment and or location and Firefighters will come to get the person if they are trapped," the FDNY replied.