Two teenagers made a daring escape Thursday from a Manhattan fire that left at least one person dead.
The fire broke out on the fourth floor of the New York City Housing Authority’s Jacob Riis Houses shortly before 7 a.m., according to the New York Post.
Eight people were injured in the fire in the 14-story building. One person was reported in critical condition.
Two teens who shimmed down an electrical conduit had serious injuries, FDNY Chief Michael Ajello said.
The two teens “went out the window and shimmied down some type of piping to escape the fire,” FDNY spokesman Jim Long said.
A dramatic video shot from a neighbor’s apartment showed the two teens, identified as a boy and his sister, climbing out of a window and making it to safety four floors below.
Manhattan *2nd Alarm/10-77* Box 0442. 118 Avenue D. Fire 4th floor 14 story 100×100. Kids hanging out a window. DOWNLOAD OUR APP FOR ASSIGNMENT & UPDATES pic.twitter.com/RQ2qNKPUOx
— NYCFireWire (@NYCFireWire) December 16, 2021
“It was terrifying,” said Christian Cortes, 20, who videoed the teens as they made it to safety, according to the Daily News.
“I was praying to God for them to get down safe. She grabbed that pole and she was looking like she was going to let go,” he said.
Neighbor Shala Coleman recalled the moment the 18-year-old girl arrived on the ground moments after her 13-year-old brother.
“Her skin was off her arm, peeling,” Coleman said. “I just put her in the blanket. Me and a police officer carried her to the benches.”
A 13yo boy & 18yo female shimmied down a construction conduit down the side of building
— loveworld (@LoveWorld_Peopl) December 16, 2021
Neighbor Shaquane Mitchell said she was among those trying to break down an apartment door to rescue a trapped woman.
“We tried to kick in the door,” she recounted. “She couldn’t unlock the door, the mother. She was yelling ‘I can’t get it open!’”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but officials said multiple electric bikes were found in the apartment.
Fire officials have reported 93 fires caused by lithium bike batteries so far this year, more than double the 44 reported in 2020.
About 180 firefighters responded to the two-alarm blaze, which was extinguished in about an hour.
The fatality was the third in a New York City Housing Authority property in a 28-hour span.
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