40 families out of their homes

Fire rips through six-story Hamilton Heights building, forces more than 40 families out of their homes

More than 40 families were forced out of their homes as a massive blaze ripped through their Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, authorities said.

Gigantic flames could be seen punching through the roof of the building on W. 144th St. and Broadway at about 3:15 p.m., according to the FDNY.

“The one room on the top left corner was completely on fire and the flames were coming out the window,” witness Nadia El Hannari said.


The blaze quadrupled in size as firefighters raced to the scene.


The size of the blaze quadrupled as firefighters raced to the scene.

Row of shops in Inwood engulfed in four-alarm blaze

“Ten minutes later, the next four or five windows, flames were shooting out,” El Hannari said. “It happened so fast.”

Firefighters douse the burning building Friday night with water.

Firefighters douse the burning building Friday night with water.


Firefighters “were on the fire escape breaking windows on the second floor and climbing in,” she said.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.

The fire started on the top floor of the century-old building.

The fire started on the top floor of the century-old building.


One resident was rushed to a local hospital with smoke inhalation and three firefighters suffered minor injuries, he said.

Accused Brooklyn blaze culprit says deadly fire was unintentional

“My friend, his mom was crying she thought her kids were in there. She was having an anxiety attack,” said Nicole Manard, 19, who’s father is the superintendent in the burned building. “There was fire everywhere. It looked like it was in the trees, in the scaffolding,” Manard explained.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.

The burning roof collapsed into the top floor as the fire raged on, officials said.


The 11 miles-per-hour winds in the neighborhood caused the blaze to spread quickly, forcing the 42 families in the building out into the street.

Hamilton Heights fire engulfs roof of apartment building, injures nine, officials say

A fire in Hamilton Heights reached at least five alarms on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, the FDNY said. (Credit: @KevinClamato via Twitter)

A fire that heavily damaged a Hamilton Heights apartment building Friday, displacing residents and sending a massive plume of smoke into the sky, is finally under control Saturday morning.

The six-alarm fire broke out at 565 W. 144th St., near Broadway, just before 3:15 p.m., according to fire officials. High winds caused the rapid spread of the flames through the top floor of the building.

It was brought under control as of 9 a.m. Saturday, an FDNY spokeswoman said.

Roughly 255 firefighters and paramedics responded to the scene, according to the FDNY.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries, according to the agency. One civilian and one police officer also suffered from smoke inhalation. At least four people were taken to area hospitals.

The American Red Cross of Greater New York is helping 20 families, including 44 adults and nine children, who were displaced by the fire. The organization set up a reception center Friday night at PS 153, located at 1750 Amsterdam Ave., where more than 40 people had access to hot meals, a spokesman said in an emailed statement.

“Throughout the night Red Cross workers provided housing and support for essentials (food, clothing, personal care needs, medication, etc.),” the spokesman added. “We will continue to provide long term support as the families begin the recovery process.”

One tenant remains unaccounted for and may have been inside the building when the fire broke out, FDNY Chief James Leonard said at a press conference held Saturday morning.

“At this point, we are going to reenter the building under safe conditions … to search and see if that person is up in the building,” Leonard said.

At the height of the fire, its billowing smoke plume could be seen from across the Hudson River, social media posts show. One woman tweeted a video showing the smoke rising into the sky from her office window on 137th Street.

Syndee Winters, an actress who lists “Hamilton: The Musical” under her credits, tweeted a Periscope video from across the street that shows pieces of flaming debris falling to the ground as firefighters doused the building with water from the buckets of ladder trucks.
The six-story building has 50 units and was built in 1920, according to the real estate listing firm StreetEasy. Official from the city’s Department of Buildings will visit the scene Saturday to determine whether the entire structure should come down, Leonard said at the press conference.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

By AM NEW YORK. Lauren Cook and Nicole Levy lauren.cook@amny.com, nicole.levy@amny.com November 18, 2017

Man found on fire escape with bag of burglary tools: Cops

By Caitlin Mota
The Jersey Journal

JERSEY CITY — A 27-year-old man was found climbing a fire escape with a backpack full of burglary tools in Downtown, authorities said.

Casey Collado was arrested on Wednesday after a brief foot pursuit with plain clothes officers, a police report of the incident indicates.

At about 12:20 a.m., police were called to Wayne Street on reports of a man on the second floor fire escape of the building. The officers found Collado trying to climb a nearby fence when they arrived, the report states.

Police told him to stop and he refused. The officers called for backup and Collado was arrested on Christopher Columbus Drive a short time later, authorities said.

Collado was carrying two crowbars, a hammer, and a screwdriver in his backpack. Police also found nine credits cars, a hospital ID card, and a drivers license, the report states.

He was charged with criminal trespassing, possession of burglary tools, and resisting arrest.

Source: Caitlin Mota may be reached at cmota@jjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @caitlin_mota. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

Massive party in Denton ends with floor collapsing into apartment below

A jam-packed apartment party in Denton ended abruptly Sunday morning when the floor went crashing into the apartment below.

The incident was caught on video from multiple angles. People at the party, many of them UNT students, had to crawl from the empty second-floor apartment, back to the third. Somehow, injuries were minor.

Videos show water spewing from broken pipes as people climb over beams and plywood to escape.

It could’ve been life or death for Carley Carroll, who lives in that second-floor apartment below the party. Carroll and her three roommates, all sophomores at the University of North Texas, were not home at the time. They were at the Denton Police Department, making a noise complaint just before 2 a.m.

“I have nowhere to go. Everything I own is in there,” said Carroll. “That’s life-threatening. If we were in our living room, we wouldn’t have made it out because by what we’ve seen, it’s just completely gone.”

Carroll and her roommates are not the only ones affected. Fifty other residents are also displaced.

“People gotta grab their wallets, keys, backpacks because we have school tomorrow,” said Trent Blackburn.

Police estimate there were 100 people at the party. Carroll says that’s typical; she’s called the cops on the partygoers before.

“We’ve called and said, ‘It looks like the ceiling is going to cave in,’ so I feel like with us saying that, there could’ve been more that was done,” said Carroll.

Denton Police are working to confirm the previous noise complaints. Police say those type of calls are low priority in nature and people have usually left the party by the time officers arrive.

This incident was upgraded to a possible mass casualty incident. There is now an investigation into the structural failure. Students affected by this say both the apartment management and the university have helped secure places for them to stay, mostly in hotels or dorms and food.

Students who live on the first floor said they’re still dealing with the effects of the collapse. One girl said a bathtub from an upper floor fell into her closet on Monday.

While other people started recording pandemonium at the party, Mickey Hicks’ military training kicked in.

“I just see water spraying everywhere from the plumbing,” he recalled. “People were yelling, screaming. Just trying to find a way to out.”

The 22-year-old was among the 100 partygoers inside this apartment when he felt the floor shaking.

“I like to use common sense. There were too many people jumping. We’re on the third floor. You could feel it,” he said. “I took three steps. Heard chaos and screaming. I was like, ‘I bet you the floor just fell in.'”

Hicks turned back around, opened the door and started reaching for arms.

“I think the military really taught me that,” he said.

Hicks just got out of the Army and says he’ll soon start school at UNT. He guesses he pulled 30 people who were cut and bleeding but not seriously injured.

A spokesman for the complex said structural engineers have been examining the building. Until they get a report, the complex doesn’t know if the damage is repairable or not.

The apartment complex says it will give residents seven days of rent credited to them. Denton Police and Fire are no longer investigating it, but it could progress as a civil matter.

Carroll says fake fundraising pages have been set up by people pretending to be her and her roommates, hoping to take advantage of their situation. They are asking people not to donate to those fundraisers.

Source: FOX4News.com Staff POSTED: NOV 12 2017 10:01PM CST VIDEO POSTED: NOV 13 2017 09:45PM CST UPDATED: NOV 13 2017 09:49PM CST

Fire kills 2 in Dyker Heights, arson suspected

Fire kills 2 in Dyker Heights, arson suspected


POSTED 9:04 PM, NOVEMBER 9, 2017, BY

DYKER HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — Roaring flames burst from the windows of an apartment building in Dyker Heights where two people died in a fire that’s being investigated as arson, sources said.

The fast moving fire was deliberately set by someone who dumped an accelerant in the lobby of the building around 7:30 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement sources said.

“I heard the sirens, when I came out I realized that flames were shooting out of the back apartment alongside where we live,” said witness Heidi Pugni.

More than 100 firefighters and paramedics responded to the fire.

“It spread rapidly from the first floor up throughout the building. [There were] very heavy fire conditions in the hallway. Going through and to the top floor fire out the top floor window,” said James Leonard, chief of department for the Fire Department.

When the smoke cleared, firefighters found the lifeless bodies of a 58-year-old man and 56-year-old woman. Their bodies were burned beyond recognition, sources said.

Seven people were rushed to area hospitals including firefighters, Leonard said.

“My sister heard fighting and yelling coming from the back of the building. Then she noticed that the door handle was hot,” said Karen Hernandez, who escaped the building clutching her cat. “My mother checked and told us there was smoke coming from the back of the building. We went down the fire escape.”

Investigators from the city Fire Marshals, NYPD Arson and Explosives Squad and federal bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms inspected the rear of the building, where a fire escape was draped with charred clothing.

10 Story Building Challenges Firefighters

Small Equipment Fire on Roof of 10 Story Building Challenges Firefighters with Difficult Access11/08/17


At 0835 this morning fire crews were dispatched to a report of a fire at 715 SW Morrison. This is a 10 story high rise building and the fire was reported to be in a piece of equipment on the roof. Access to the fire was hampered because there was no internal access to the roof and the firefighters had to use the external fire escape and firefighters ladder (attached to the fire escape) to access the roof. The fire was quickly extinguished and crews have now cleared the scene.

High rise fires, where the fire is elevated on an upper floor, are very labor intensive operations. Firefighters must carry all of their firefighting equipment aloft while working simultaneously to evactuate occupants. Portland Fire and Rescue’s high rise response first-alarm includes six engines, two ladder trucks, 2 heavy squads, and several chiefs. These crews are used to attack the fire, evacuate occupants, ferry equipment up and down the stairwells, evacuate smoke from the building, contact building managers to provide specific information, and to manage the building’s sprinkler, alarm, and air handling systems to help and not hamper firefighting efforts. An aggressive firefighting effort, while a high rise fire is in its early stages, is necessary to prevent the fire from potentially overwhelming those resources. While very rare, high rise fires from around the world remind us of the power and danger that an uncontrolled high rise fire can pose.

High rise buildings are designed and built to rigorous fire and life safety codes that address design-specific concerns to make these buildings very safe to inhabit. Occupants should always be familiar with emergency evacuation routes, participate in regular fire drills, and know the location of the nearest fire extinguisher on your floor.



Twitter photo via @NYCFireWire

By NY1 News  |  November 7, 2017 @9:08 AM


City fire crews on Monday worked to quickly evacuate a mom and her infant after a fire engulfed a building in Brooklyn.

Flames broke out around 3 p.m. on the second floor of a four-story apartment building located at 519 Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill.

Firefighters took a little less than a hour to get the blaze under control.

Officials say crews were able to evacuate people who lived in the building where the fire started.

In a building next door, firefighters helped a mother and her baby to safety.

Their apartment was not affected by the flames, and they were evacuated by their fire escape.

Officials say three people were hurt in the incident.

Tenants helped down ladders, awoken from bed by first responders

Quick work by Olean police, firefighters prevents tragedy at apartment fire

Tenants helped down ladders, awoken from bed by first responders

  • By TOM DINKI, Olean Times Herald

Olean Police Department officers

OLEAN — Olean police officers and firefighters responded to 114 E. Oak St. during the early morning hours of Oct. 30 to find a scene that some of them called their worst-case scenario: a structure fire with people, including children, trapped inside.

But through some quick thinking and quick action by members of the Olean Police Department and Olean Fire Department, all occupants were safe and accounted for by the time the flames died out a few hours later.

First responders helped a total of five people, including two children, escape the apartment building via ladders, as flames blocked off a stairwell where the fire began; police found fire-starting materials in the stairwell and have ruled the blaze an arson, but have yet to announce an arrest. Another tenant was rescued after an officer made a forcible entry into a first-floor apartment and alerted him of the fire.

While the officers and firefighters involved in the rescues were willing to share their experiences, they all maintained their actions weren’t anything beyond what’s in their job descriptions.

“If you pick this profession and don’t put other people first, you’re in the wrong job,” said Olean patrolman Matt Schnell.

Schnell and fellow patrolmen William Beggs and Kyle Baldwin, as well as Olean Police Capt. Andrew Langdon, were already out on patrol throughout the city when the fire was called in at approximately 1:19 a.m. They were the first to arrive at the burning East Oak Street home, something that’s not unusual when it comes to fires.

“Firefighters do a great job, but you got to keep in mind they have to get gear on, they have to get the trucks running,” Beggs said. “You kind of have to be able to adapt to different scenarios when you’re a cop just because most of the time you’re going to be the first one out there.”

The officers were forced to adapt, as they arrived on scene to find a woman hanging half her body out of a second-floor window and calling for help, as well as two adults and two children having difficulty making their way down a wooden fire escape from a third-floor apartment.

Langdon credited Schnell for using “quick wits” to find about a half-dozen extension ladders lying around that a contractor believed to be doing work on the building had left outside.

A fire escape allowed Stephanie Searles and her two young children, as well as an adult male, to get down from a third-floor apartment to a second-story deck, but there were no steps to get down from the deck. Schnell and Beggs used the ladders to bring the four of them safely to the ground from there.

Schnell said Searles’ young son was frightened and initially didn’t want to come down from the third-floor apartment.

“The mom thought our presence kind of calmed him down to where he was willing to come down,” he continued. “The kids were stellar. They were crying, they were a little scared, but I think all the adults, myself included, were more nervous than them. They’re brave little kids.”

Meanwhile, Langdon grabbed one of the ladders to assist the woman down from her second-story window. However, firefighters then arrived and ultimately Olean firefighter Nate Veno used one of the fire department’s ladders to rescue the woman.

“Capt. Langdon was there to assist me in anything I needed,” Veno said. “He assisted me as I climbed up and got her out of the window.”

While his fellow officers tended to those who were visibly trapped, Baldwin entered an unlocked door to the building to make sure no one else was stuck inside. He found a locked apartment door, and after knocking several times and hearing no response, used his shoulder to open the door.

Inside the apartment, Baldwin woke a sleeping Mark Wilson, who was unaware of the fire.

“It’s definitely a rush, for sure, because you know you have to act fast, you know you have to make that split-second decision,” Baldwin said. “You don’t want to say it’s the right one or the wrong one because it happens so fast, but you better make sure it’s the right one.”

Baldwin said no one instructed him to enter the building — just as no one instructed the other officers to grab ladders and start the rescue process. Police did what their “gut” told them, he said.

“The team that just happened to be there that day, we work real well together,” Beggs said. “We didn’t even have to speak — everybody just split up and accomplished everything that needed to be accomplished.”

When arriving first at a fire, Langdon said police simply have to assess and the deal with the situation they’re presented.


Fire Escape Plans For Apartments

Two big fires at two apartment complexes destroy people’s lives this past weekend, but no one died.

One happened in Starkville and the other in Vernon, Alabama.

It was a close call for residents, but it’s why firefighters say you should have an escape plan.

You might think living in an apartment would mean you need a different escape plan than a house, but that’s not necessarily true.

Firemen say all fires have similarities and both places have similar escape routes.

Most apartment complexes have one common stairwell through the middle of the building with units on each side.

Some residents wonder how they would escape if the stairs were ever cut off by fire or falling debris.

“I think until it happens to you, maybe you don’t even, you know, think about it at all,” says Laura Emelio.

Emelio has been living on the second floor of Franklin Apartments in Columbus, for five months.

It’s the first time she’s lived on a top floor and now, she also has to worry about Luna.

“This is the only way out, so you know, if the fire was coming up through the stairs, I would have to jump out through the window or something, because you know, this is the only exit.”

Starkville Fire Marshal Mark McCurdy says whether you live in an apartment or a home, there’s always two ways out to escape a fire.

“Obviously, your first way out is going to be through your main entrance, whatever that is, your front door if you will, and typically your second way out is a window, a bedroom window, or something of that nature.”

McCurdy says once you get to a window, try to let someone know where you are.

“Try to get a fireman’s attention, you know, maybe hang a sheet out of the window, throw something, even throw something out of the window just to get somebody’s attention, so if there’s time, then they can put up a ladder or some sorts like that, and climb up and get you down safely.”

McCurdy tells residents if there’s no time, they need to jump and try to land on anything that could soften the fall.

“I have heard to try and roll into it. That is something I have heard about, you know, when you are jumping, to try and not catch it all on your feet, so I guess that’s what I would do,” says Emelio.

McCurdy suggests to buy a throw over fire escape ladder if you live on a second story or higher.

Source: WBCI, Missouri

That Flowerpot on the Fire Escape Could Be a Killer

Oct. 24, 2017 — Ignore house rules and city and state laws at your peril.

Ah, the perils and pitfalls of cooperative living. A shareholder in a co-op in Morningside Heights possesses a green thumb, evidenced by the flourishing potted plants on his window ledges and fire escape. When he waters his plants, alas, the runoff streams down the wall, across windows, and into the apartment of his downstairs neighbor. This aggrieved neighbor spoke to the man with the green thumb, and he wrote letters to the managing agent and co-op board, but the water keeps coming. Is this right, or fair?

“No one should be using a fire escape for the storage or placement of any items, including plantings,” attorney Mark Hakim of Chaves & Perlowitz tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. “It is a matter of health and safety.”

It’s also against the co-op’s house rules, and it violates city and state laws governing fire safety, which state that all means of egress, such as stairwells and fire escapes, must be kept free of obstructions. As for the flowerpots on the window ledge, if one of them should fall, it could injure or kill a passerby, which is why the co-op’s house rules forbid flowerpots on window ledges.

So what’s the aggrieved shareholder to do? Write another letter to the board and to the managing agent, advises Hakim, demanding that the board “take this matter seriously.” The shareholder might also call 311 to report the blocked fire escape. If a city inspector finds a fire hazard, the building would likely be issued a violation. In such situations, shareholders should press the board to act before the building gets fined, which will cost all shareholders. However, a ticket would certainly get management’s attention. Then again, so would a dead body on the sidewalk in front of the building, sprawled next to a shattered flowerpot and a lovely but deadly geranium.

Source: The Habitat – Building Operations