Baby rescued in Brooklyn high-rise fire; two people critically injured

Firefighters at scene of Brooklyn high-rise fire
Firefighters rescued a toddler and man from an apartment fire on Morgan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on Dec. 31, 2023.
Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Firefighters in Brooklyn rescued an infant and another occupant who were left critically injured during an high-rise apartment fire on Sunday afternoon.

The New Year’s Eve blaze occurred at about 12:38 p.m. on Dec. 31 at 417 Morgan Ave., within the Cooper Park Houses NYCHA complex in Williamsburg.

Members of Ladder Companies 146 and 108 found the child suffering from major burns and serve smoke inhalation.

Deputy Chief Steve Corran said the tot was trapped behind a window gate.

“There was no way he was getting out without our help,” Corran said. “Our units did a tremendous job.”

According to witnesses, family members were holding the child at the window through heavy smoke when firefighters arrived.

Firefighter inside burned Brooklyn apartment
Firefighters broke all the windows to the 5th floor apartment.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell
Firefighters and NYCHA officials at scene of Brooklyn high-rise fire
Firefighters and NYCHA officials at the scene of Brooklyn high-rise fire on Dec. 31, 2023.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Two fire victims, including the baby, were removed to Cornell Burn Center in critical condition with severe burns. A third victim refused medical attention at the scene.

At least a hundred firefighters responded to the blaze. They used two hose lines to knock down the main body of fire, which was officially placed under control at 1:15 p.m. Sunday.

Once again, lithium-ion batteries may have played a role in Sunday’s fire. Members of Engine Company 274 and Hazmat Unit 1 were called in and seen removing e-bikes and related batteries from the apartment. 

Hazmat units at Brooklyn fire scene
Fire marshals are investigating whether lithium-ion batteries sparked the blaze.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

The FDNY Fire Marshals Office will officially determine the cause of the fire.

The Fire Department reminds residents to safely charge a mobile devices and to not buy secondary batteries without UL listing.