Midtown East Fire Victims Rescued From High-Rise – NBC New York

A dramatic rescue mission unfolded Saturday morning at a high-rise apartment building in midtown fire investigators say was sparked by a lithium-ion battery.

Among the 38 people injured in the fiery chaos on East 52nd Street, at least two were said to be in critical condition and another five had serious injuries, FDNY officials said.

Investigators traced the fire to the 20th floor of the 37-story building, where FDNY members had to perform a difficult rope rescue, pulling two people out of one window and lowering them on the outside of the building and through a window one floor below. Video circulating on social media captured the harrowing rescue.

“You saw the life-saving rope rescue. That is a last resort in the FDNY,” Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb said at a news conference.

Some residents above the floor where the fire started escaped to the roof, fire officials said. A police helicopter was briefly dispatched to assist but did not remove anyone from the roof.

FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said the fire started in an apartment from a lithium battery connected to an unspecified micromobility device. Fire officials discovered at least five e-bikes inside that unit, Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn added.

Based upon what was uncovered inside the fire unit, officials believe that its occupant repaired bikes.

Flynn said about 200 fires across the city were sparked by lithium-ion batteries just this year. Those have resulted in at least six deaths, he said.

An electric scooter battery sparked a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl in Queens in September, and a woman and a 5-year-old girl were killed in August in Harlem by a fire that was blamed on a scooter battery. A fire linked to an e-scooter killed a 9-year-old boy in Queens in September 2021.

“We will be out in this community and communities all over the city in the days and weeks ahead, handing out fire safety literature, handing out smoke alarms,” ​​Kavanagh said.

“But we also want to emphasize the rising cause of fires from e-bikes and to ensure that families are making sure that they’re following the safest possible way to use these including not charging them overnight when they are asleep, including making sure they are certified and that the batteries that they are using are not damaged in any way.”

Fire officials were not sure how many families were displaced by the fire.

This story is developing.

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