A roaring fire ripped through a building in Manhattan’s Chinatown on Friday afternoon, injuring 10 people, mostly firefighters, before it was finally brought under control, the Fire Department said.
Eight firefighters and two other people injured in the blaze suffered minor injuries, authorities said.
He the fire broke out around 2:30 p.m. inside a souvenir shop on the ground floor of a mostly residential building on Mott St. near Bayard St. FDNY Deputy Chief Thomas Currao called the fire “very, very challenging.”
A sixth-floor resident said she smelled smoke as she left her apartment when the fire broke out.
“I also smelled a bit like someone was cooking something on fire,” said the woman, who gave her name as Jeanne. “I grabbed my bag, I grabbed my phone. I got out and couldn’t see anything. I brought a flashlight because I was afraid of falling.”
When firefighters arrived, they found “severe fire conditions,” Currao said. “They had fire running down the front of the building.”
The fire quickly spread to the upper floors of the six-story building, which contains 21 apartments and a Chinese cultural association, authorities said.
“I was sleeping,” said a 24-year-old resident who only wanted to be identified as Tiffany.
The woman, who lives on the third floor, said she woke up from her sleep when firefighters banged on her door. Firefighters guided her through thick black smoke in the hallways that completely obscured her view, she said.
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“Fortunately, everyone came out,” said William Su, vice president of the Ling Sin Association, which has occupied the second floor of the building for 130 years.
Su said she was in her office a couple of blocks away when she received a call from someone who saw a social media post about the fire.
“First of all, I called the secretary of our association and he is on the street,” Su said. “Everyone is safe.”
Fire marshals were still investigating what started the fire.
Charred piles of destroyed T-shirts and mugs reading “I love New York” were strewn inside the souvenir shop on Friday.
About 140 firefighters responded to the scene and the flames were under control at 4:33 p.m., authorities said.
“It really was because of the efforts of the firefighters who got there quickly, they stretched out the lines quickly, they got into the building quickly that mitigated any loss of life,” Currao said.