38 injured and 2 critical as massive fire caused by lithium-ion battery engulfs NYC building

A woman, a resident of the building, was even seen dangling 20 stories above the ground in a horrifying video after the blaze engulfed the building

38 injured and 2 critical as massive fire caused by lithium-ion battery engulfs NYC building
In a dramatic video, a woman was seen hanging outside of the apartment as firefighters heroically rescued her from the building (@StrepGal/Twitter)
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MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A massive fire broke out in a Manhattan apartment reportedly leaving 38 people hurt, two of them seriously injured. A woman, a resident of the building, was even seen dangling 20 stories above the ground in a horrifying video after the blaze engulfed the building. The three-alarm blaze erupted in the 20th-floor apartment at 429 East 52nd St on Saturday, November 5, the FDNY said. The fire reportedly erupted from the battery of a micro-mobility device. While at least two dozen residents rushed to the roofs, others hung out of the windows in a desperate attempt to escape the fire.

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Firefighters, who arrived at the scene within three minutes, encountered heavy smoke inside the apartment building. Riley Jankowski, 23, told the New York Times that she only realized there was a fire in her building until she heard first responders outside and residents began to yell. "I run down the stairs, and as I'm running out on the courtyard, the window bursts and glass flies around as I'm on the phone with my mom screaming for my life," she said. At least two people are said to have suffered smoke inhalation due to the fire.

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Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh appreciated first responders for their quick action. "I cannot emphasize enough the extraordinary work of our members this morning in unbelievably dangerous conditions," Laura said, according to the Daily Mail

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Echoing her thoughts, Deputy Assistant Chief Frank Leeb said, "What we saw today was our training, our teamwork and our absolute dedication from the units that operated up there with the life-saving rope rescue, to passing them off ot our exceptionally trained EMS personnel to get these patients all off-scene in a matter of minutes."

In a dramatic video that surfaced on social media, a woman was seen hanging outside of the apartment window as smoke rushed out. Hero firefighters were seen rescuing the woman who was caught on a window guard. The rescuer, identified by the FDNY as Artur Podgorski of Ladder 16 on East 67th Street, was on a rope secured inside the apartment directly above. he wrapped his limbs around the woman as other firefighters gradually lowered them to the apartment below. Another colleague pulled her inside. 

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Patti Ryan, who shot the video, tweeted, "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!!!!"


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Lithium-ion batteries are connected to micro-mobility devices like e-bikes and scooters. They have sparked deadly fires in the past. The FDNY has warned in recent times that battery-powered E-bikes, popular with New York's delivery drivers, are a growing source of horrific fires. In 2022 so far, in New York, five people have died and 66 have been injured in fires sparked by lithium-ion batteries like the ones used by power e-bikes, the FDNY said. Experts have said that such fires are often caused by cheap e-bikes, the massive number of delivery drivers using them, and the overuse of damaged batteries. 

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The FDNY has warned people to use devices powered by lithium-ion batteries carefully. "If using a lithium battery, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and storage. Always use the manufacturer’s cord and power adapter made specifically for the device. If a battery overheats, discontinue use immediately," it said, adding, "These batteries are commonly used in cell phones, laptops, tablets, electric cars, and scooters. Lithium-ion batteries store a large amount of energy and can pose a threat if not treated properly. Like any product, a small number of these batteries are defective. They can overheat, catch fire, or explode."

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