An occupant of a Midtown high rise who, according to the FDNY, was repairing e-bikes and e-scooters out of his apartment caused a major fire in a high rise after a lithium-ion battery exploded in the front door of his 20th floor apartment. Firefighters said they recovered at least 5 e-bikes from the apartment where the fire started. A woman had to be rescued out of her window in a heroic rescue effort. Firefighters were forced to use a technique called “roof rope rescue” which is a last resort technique to save the woman blocked in the 20th floor apartment.
Firefighters instructed other residents to shelter in their apartments, put wet towels under the door and wait until they came to rescue them.
A total of 38 people suffered injury in the fire. Two of them are in critical condition. Five of them suffered serious injury and the rest were minor injuries.
So far in the city this year, FDNY said that they were called to 200 fires caused by lithium battery explosions in which 6 people died and multiple others were injured. Last year 104 fires in NYC were caused by exploding lithium-ion batteries causing injury to 79 and killing 4.
Located at 429 East 52nd Street between Sutton and First Avenue, the 37-story Rivercourt high rise has 292 apartments. E-bikes are prohibited in the buildings according to a sign at the entrance of the building but obviously the rule was not respected.
Tenants mentioned that they did not hear fire alarms.
Another resident of the 20th floor who was awakened by his parents who were visiting from Florida said it was pretty terrifying to see the smoke getting thicker in the apartment until firefighters came and escorted them down the stairs where his dad unfortunately slipt because of the water and injured himself.
Read more in the NY Daily News
Picture of the building where the fire occurred: Courtesy of Google Map