At least 33 people injured in UES fire

Officials: 14 residents and 19 firefighters were treated for minor injuries
February 7, 2008 3:05:45 PM PST
A third-alarm fire burned through stores on the Upper East Side, sending smoke spewing through a high-rise apartment building and injuring 21 people. Newscopter-7 was live over the scene.

Eyewitness News is told the fire broke out in stores on the ground floor of an apartment building at the intersection of Third Avenue and East 72nd Street just before 5:15 a.m. Smoke spread throughout the rest of the building.

Rusty Pacheco of Grace's Marketplace next door - says they heard the alarm and ran out of his store. He says the staff was unhurt but his store suffered water damage.

Officials say at least 33 people -- 14 residents and 19 firefighters were treated. All of the injuries were reported to be minor.

The Fire Department said the one firefighter was in serious but not life-threatening condition.

An MTA bus was brought in to shelter temporarily displaced residents.

Local streets were closed, including Third Avenue between East 70th and East 72nd streets. Five buses -- the M101, M102, M30, M72, AND M103 -- were re-routed.

Some 138 firefighters tackled the blaze and brought it under control by about 6:30 a.m., and tenants who had left the 34-story building because of the flames were back in their apartments by mid-morning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.