More than a dozen people were injured in a seven-alarm fire, sparked accidentally by a toaster, in upper Manhattan on Monday, according to the FDNY.
The fire broke out on the second floor of the six-story building at 775 Riverside Dr., near West 156th Street, just before 1:50 p.m. and burned for over five hours before firefighters were able to get it under control, according to fire officials. Smoke alarms were working in the building at the time, the FDNY said.
Seven civilians and eight firefighters suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blaze, per the FDNY.
Members of the American Red Cross of Greater New York were on the scene helping displaced residents with food, temporary shelter and other support, according to Jessica Kirk, a spokeswoman for the organization.
With more than 130 apartment units evacuated, it remained unclear when residents would be able to return home, she said.
In the meantime, Red Cross officials were helping “dozens of affected residents” at a reception center set up inside Our Lady of Esperanza Church, located at 624 W. 156th St., Kirk added.
While residents were being offered support, more than 200 firefighters and EMS personnel battled the inferno, an FDNY official said.
The fire had spread through a dumbwaiter shaft running from the first floor all the way to the top floor, according to FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro. It then progressed into a small attic above the top floor, which is “very difficult for us to reach,” he said.
In order to get to the attic space, commonly called a cockloft, firefighters had to cut through the roof or enter through the ceiling below, according to Nigro.
“It’s very hard work under very arduous conditions,” he added.
With Alison Fox