Video: Two teens escape deadly blaze at Manhattan building

Neighbours created a makeshift safety net to catch the teens who slid down a pipe after escaping from the window

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Published: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 8:32 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 9:13 PM

Two teenagers, aged 13 and 18, managed to escape the fifth floor of a burning building in East Village, Manhattan by climbing out of a window, and down a long pipe. They are in a stable condition now.

The deadly blaze broke out at around 7:15am (local time) at the Jacob Riis Houses, Avenue D, in the East Village area of Manhattan, New York. Video footage taken by a neighbour, that circulated online, showed the raging fire, and the windows spewing thick black fumes. According to the New York Fire Department (FDNY), the fire was caused due to the lithium-ion batteries of an electric bike nearby.

Following the 13-year-old boy's miraculous escape from a window, he managed to grab a nearby pipe with the support of the 18-year-old girl. He then proceeded to help her out of the window. The teens didn’t wait for the rescue teams to arrive and slid down the pole. The neighbours spurred into action and quickly created a makeshift safety net below, which caught the teens as they slid down the pipe.

Sadly, a 32-year-old man was discovered dead in the apartment by firefighters, who quickly arrived on the scene. Three people sustained life-threatening injuries and four others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, as per the FDNY.

"Our Fire Marshals have determined once again that this fire was caused by lithium-ion batteries from an electric bike," the FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a press briefing on Friday.

He congratulated the teens on their athletic prowess, but warned the public that such incidents could be linked to an alarming trend in the city, owing to a spike in lithium-ion battery fires from 44 to 93 over a year, leading to more than 70 injuries and now, 4 deaths. Thus, he explains, "as the number of batteries grow, the danger will grow."

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