A high-rise fire in East Midtown on Saturday morning briefly left 38 trapped in their homes amid heavy smoke, Fire Department sources said.
At least seven people were critically injured in the inferno, two of whom are now hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, according to WABC-TV.
The Fire Department said the three-alarm blaze ignited at about 10:33 a.m. on Nov. 5 inside the apartment building at 429 East 52nd St.
Sources at the scene said FDNY marshals are looking into whether the fire was started by a lithium ion battery left charging inside the building.
During a press conference at the scene, Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said two residents were repairing an e-bike when the device caught fire.
More than a hundred firefighters responded to the inferno, which engulfed the 20th floor. WABC-TV reported that residents were told to shelter in place while the Bravest worked to contain residence.
Smoke conditions were so bad that about 20 residents wound up going to the roof of the building to get fresh air, WABC-TV added.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control about an hour later, at 11:34 a.m. Saturday morning.
Fire marshals are now investigating the cause of the blaze, sources said.