Hamilton Heights deadly fire on St. Nicholas Place blamed on battery, FDNY says – NBC New York

The devastating Upper Manhattan apartment fire responsible for the death of one person and injuries to at least 17 others is being blamed on a lithium-ion battery.

The FDNY said its Fire Marshals determined the cause of the fire a day after raging flames tore through the building in Hamilton Heights, leaving some residents trapped in their homes, clinging to windows as they tried to escape.

The fire broke out around 2 p.m. Friday on the third floor of the building on St. Nicholas Place near 149th Street in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood, according to the FDNY. Crews responded to the scene in three minutes, seeing people on fire escapes of the six-story building.

Smoke and fire was blowing into the hallways of the building, shutting off a way out for some residents living on higher floors. A woman can be heard on cellphone video taken from the street yelling “Don’t jump” up to those seen in windows, desperate to get out on the alley side of the building.

FDNY officials said the fire inside the building was unusual in that firefighters had to perform three rope rescues to save people in upper floors — a manuever the department typically only does about once or twice a year overall.

FDNY officials described it as a “very challenging” fire to fight, saying it was “so dangerous, firefighters had to make three rope rescues, which something very unusual for us to do at one fire.” Another fire official said the department typically only performs one or two of those kinds of rescues a year, so three in one incident is very uncommon.

Three victims were found unconscious in the upper floors of the building and were rushed downstairs to receive help from EMS.

One person was killed in the blaze and another 17 were hurt, four of whom were in critical condition at the hospital, fire officials said at a Friday evening news conference. Three of those saved in the rope rescues were said to be among those in critical condition.

A total of 12 people were hospitalized, officials said, one of whom died from their injuries.

At least one person died following a third-floor fire in a Hamilton Heights apartment building. 

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