A fire that broke out in a Hamilton Heights apartment building yesterday afternoon grew to five-alarms and injured at least one civilian and 19 firefighters. And it was apparently caused by an overloaded plug.
The super at 520 West 139th Street told the Post, "It started in the master bedroom on the sixth floor. There’s only one outlet. They had the air-conditioning and all appliances plugged in, and it overheated. There was smoke everywhere." A 79-year-old man who lives there was able to escape—his son said, "He took his cane and ran."
The fire, which started at 3:45 p.m., spread quickly on the top floor and destroyed seven apartments, leaving 40 people homeless. Neighboring buildings were evacuated as well. The Red Cross assisted with shelter, food water and support.
About 200 firefighters responded to the blaze. Assistant Fire Chief James Manahan explained, "They wear their full gear"—which is about 130 pounds—"which keeps all that heat in there and the firefighters can’t last as long due to those conditions. The greatest challenge is the weather, with the humidity, the size of the building."