At least 38 injured, 2 critically, in Manhattan apartment fire

At least 38 injured, 2 critically, in Manhattan apartment fire


At least 38 people were injured in a fire at a Manhattan apartment building Saturday morning that authorities believe was started by a lithium-ion battery attached to a micromobility device.

Of the injuries, two were critical, five were serious, and the rest were minor, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said at a press conference.

Authorities received calls about a fire and smoke in a building on East 52nd Street shortly before 10:30 a.m., the commissioner said. Firefighters were on the scene in “just over three minutes” after the initial reports and encountered a “heavy fire” on the 20th floor of the building, FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb said during a news conference.

Two civilians were rescued from the apartment in the fire, Leeb said. Firefighters used rescue ropes, he said.

“Firefighters, EMS and dispatchers did an outstanding job saving numerous civilians, including an incredible roof rescue,” Kavanagh said, adding that fire crews were working in “incredibly dangerous conditions.”

The fire was “close to our 200th fire of the year where the cause of the fire was a lithium-ion battery from a micromobility device,” said Dan Flynn, chief fire marshal.

Authorities believe a tenant in the apartment where the fire likely started was repairing bicycles in the building, Flynn said.

The fire likely started “right outside the front door,” Flynn added. At least five bicycles were recovered from the apartment, he said.

“We’re entering the cold winter season, fires are increasing, and so we’re really asking all New Yorkers to make sure they and their families are safe,” said Kavanagh, the fire commissioner. “We also want to highlight the growing cause of e-bike fires and make sure families follow the safest possible way to use them, including not charging them overnight when they sleep, including making sure they’re certified and the batteries they use aren’t even in what way damaged.”

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