Thursday, February 23, 2012

Six Hurt, Five Rescued in Lower East Side Highrise fire

LOWER EAST SIDE — A fire broke out in the eighth-floor of a Pearl Street housing project Thursday, trapping a family of five inside and leaving six people hurt, officials and relatives said.

The blaze broke out at 7:30 a.m. in apartment 8B in 388 Pearl Street at the Alfred E. Smith Houses, near One Police Plaza, FDNY officials said.

"Smoke was pouring out of all of the windows," said Edwin Indio, who had relatives in the burning apartment. "People were running all over the place."

Firefighters had to rescue five people — including two via aerial ladder — who were trapped in a burning apartment, an FDNY chief said at the scene.

"I saw the guy on the ladder taking them all out through the window," said Judith Hernandez, who said she was related to victims.

The six people, including two firefighters, suffered minor injuries. They were taken to New York Downtown Hospital, officials said.

"There was a lot of smoke...heavy smoke in the hallway," said FDNY Deputy Chief Robert Carroll. "Victims were okay, but had some cuts."

The second-alarm fire was under control at 8:15 a.m. It required 20 units and nearly 80 firefighters to extinguish it, officials said.

The cause was under investigation.

Gas in the 17-story building has been shut off, FDNY said, and Pearl Street from Madison to Wagner streets has been temporarily closed.

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