One man was killed and another person was critically injured in a fire that overtook three Upper East Side buildings and sent flames shooting 20 feet into the air.
Firefighters were still trying to get the blaze under control at 6 a.m. — more than two hours after it broke out. Residents said they were awoken by people shouting “fire” in the street and others who were pounding on doors.
The blaze broke out around 3:30 a.m. and quickly overtook the upper part of the 93rd Street building, eventually spreading to at least two others. The flames were so intense around 4:15 a.m. that some people left surrounding buildings amid the smoke and falling embers.
Lance Hayes, who lives in one of the buildings, said someone knocked on his door to warn him about the fire.
“When I opened the door, I smelled the flames, so we just got out. When we checked, it was just flaming at the top,” Hayes said.
Larry Garvin has lived in the building that first caught fire for 12 years. He said he’s concerned about a man on the fifth floor who is in his mid to late 80s.
“I thought of him when I came out, but there was no way that I could get up there,” Garvin said.
Matt Bonaccorso live-streamed the fire on Periscope from across the street. The video shows flames pouring out of the top of the building as chunks of debris fall to the ground below. Firefighters can be heard shouting to one another as the scene unfolds.
“You can feel the heat from here,” Bonaccorso says on the live-stream.
A woman who lives over on 92nd Street said that she left her apartment after she heard a loud pounding.
“I saw flames going out the window and everything, and I was like ‘Thank God I left.’ You could see the embers landing on the roof of my building and smoke and everything. Really scary,” she said.
The Red Cross arrived on the scene around 5 a.m. as groups of people stood around covered in blankets.
Parts of First and Second avenues were closed to traffic Thursday morning and it was difficult for motorists to get around in the area.