A firefighter was praised on Thursday for his daring rescue of an 81-year-old man who was hanging out of a third-story window during a 6-alarm fire that killed one man on the Upper East Side.
Firefighter Jim Lee Jr., 43, was dangling from the roof of 324 E. 93rd St. with a rope and was able to grab the man and lower him to safety.
The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. and spread through the five-story building to the roof and the adjacent buildings, damaging a total of 60 units. Around 200 firefighters responded to the scene and were able to bring the fire under control just before 8 a.m.
An unidentified man was found dead on the third floor of the building, police said. The man rescued from the window was taken to the hospital in serious condition, officials said.
Four other civilians and 11 firefighters also suffered minor injuries.
“The man was hunkered down at his apartment window on the third floor and he had fire coming over his head,” Lee said in a Facebook post on the FDNY’s page.
“He put his knee on the window sill and I grabbed him, held on to him tight, and the guys up top lowered us to the ground. When we looked up, the fire was coming out of all the windows in his apartment. Another two minutes and he probably wouldn’t be with us. He said he was glad to be on the ground.”
The daring roof-rescue the 13-year department veteran Lee attempted, surrounded by smoke, is always a last resort, FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a statement.
“That certainly does not happen every day and we’re very proud of the members,” Nigro said. “Our members worked very hard to get this fire under control.”
A total of 22 adults and two children were displaced by the fire, according to the Red Cross.
“Volunteers and staff are working with the displaced residents ... to provide immediate emergency relief including blankets and food,” a Red Cross spokeswoman said in a statement.
Denise Shearer, who lives on the 20th floor of 340 E. 93rd St., said she thought the fire could have spread to her building.
“The flames were just getting higher and higher,” she said.
The Red Cross set up a temporary station in the lobby of Shearer’s building. She said she was providing tea and snacks to the displaced residents.
“Everybody has been helping,” Shearer said. “It’s absolutely the right thing to do.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Firefighters had blocked off 93rd Street, between Second and First avenues.
With Ivan Pereira