New York City firefighters made a dramatic 20th-floor rescue Saturday after a three-alarm fire struck a 292-unit building in Manhattan.
Thirty-eight people were reported injured in the fire, including two with life-threatening injuries. Five of the injured were New York City firefighters.
A “lithium-ion battery connected to a micromobility device” started the fire, FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said, according to the New York Post.
“The lithium-ion battery adds a different degree when we talk about the fire dynamics of it,” FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb said, according to ABC. “These rooms flash over in just a mere matter of seconds.”
There have been “close to 200” lithium-ion battery-related fires this year, FDNY Chief Fire Marshal Dan Flynn said.
Those fires have killed six people, Flynn said, according to The New York Times.
“We believe the occupant was repairing bikes in the building,” Flynn said, according to CBS. “These fires, they come without warning. When they do go on fire, they’re so intense that any combustibles in the area will catch fire.”
The fire left one woman dangling 20 floors above the pavement.
WARNING: The following video includes content that some viewers may find disturbing
@FDNY .@FDNY #FDNY in my ENTIRE life I have never seen anything more #HEROIC than what I just witnessed from #NYC apt. Woman rescued by #NYBRAVEST #FDNY in devastating apt fire. Trying to escape smoke, she slipped, hanging 15-20 stories up. THANK U to our heroes!!!! #FDNY @FDNY pic.twitter.com/sLwqJOPGru
— Patti Ryan (@StrepGal) November 5, 2022
FDNY explained how she was rescued on its Instagram account.
“We started with a member from Ladder 16 who was lowered down, he realized the victim hanging out the window was caught on the child gate. That rope system was reset and another Firefighter was lowered to the victim and held onto the victim,” Leeb said.
After the woman was freed from the child gate, her entire weight was carried by firefighter Arthur Podgorski.
“He was then lowered by the team above to the floor below with the victim. Another firefighter “then went on rope from #Ladder2 and was lowered to the floor below, at that point the inside team was able to remove the additional victims from inside the apartment,” Leeb wrote.
The cost of failure is great both to civilians and our members, they expect us to come prepared and we came prepared, we always do. We have a winning mindset in the FDNY, we play to win on every run, every tour, and every day,” Leeb said.
Podgorski explained in the post that “My role was to go under the victim and start to hold her weight, so the member above me could free her arm and I could hold her and bring her safely below..”
“It is a team effort, you have to put trust in the members above and below you. This is why we train, when moments like this happen there is no room for mistakes, we fall back on our training,” he said.
Residents described panic inside the building.
“I ran down all 26 flights of stairs,” Igor Mihailevschi , 63, said. “Everybody was screaming and there was smoke everywhere and I looked out the window and saw someone waving at me to get out.”
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