NEW YORK — A fire ripped through a six-story apartment building in Chinatown early Tuesday, killing one person and injuring 28 others before it was brought under control.
Four residents were seriously injured, including some who jumped from windows on the fifth and sixth floors, officials said. Eight firefighters suffered minor injuries.
“People were yelling and screaming from the fire escape. They were crying for help,” Mary Liu, 29, told the New York Daily News. “One lady jumped out of the building. It was chaos.”
At least 100 people were evacuated from the building and others nearby, Fire Department Chief of Operations Patrick McNally said.
The fire, which started on the second floor, was difficult to control because the building – like so many in the historic lower Manhattan neighborhood – was so old, McNally said.
At times, fire could be seen shooting out of the windows and smoke was billowing near the roof. By midmorning, fire officials said the blaze was under control.
Jacquelyn Gallo told the Daily News she was asleep when she heard the alarm. She said she tried to open her windows but they were locked, so she ran into the hallway.
“The smoke was thick. I couldn’t see anything. I heard people screaming and crying. I felt the heat of the fire and I started to panic. I thought I was going to die,” she said.
Gallo said she went back into her apartment, forced open a window and climbed onto the fire escape. She said about 15 people were on the roof.
“Everyone was helping everyone,” she said. “We climbed on the roof and jumped on the next building.”