Man leaps from window to escape fire

Three people injured in Spanish Harlem fire
April 24, 2008 5:47:11 AM PDT
A man is alive after a three-story leap of faith from a burning apartment building. With no other way to escape, he jumped from a window onto a pile of trash. The fire broke out on the third floor at 225 East 105th Street, between 3rd and 2nd avenues.

Eyewitness News reporter Jaime Roth has more on the story.

This is the sought of nightmare apartment dwellers fear: Flames have you trapped and you have no where to go but out a window to escape them.

For Carlos Castillo, trapped by fire, the window was his best hope. The three-story jump might kill him. Neighbors who saw him at the window screamed for him to hold on, while they stacked garbage for a landing pad.

"The man had to jump out of the third-floor window....Oh my God the flames were hanging out the window too...He had to jump, we put the garbage down so that he could jump on the garbage bags, but he missed the garbage bags," neighbor Josephine Piedro.

Another lady was with Castillo during the fire but she refused to jump. She was hanging out the window when firefighters arrived moments later and rescued her.

Fire officials say all this started with an electrical fire igniting a mattress. Castillo reportedly got his two cousins and teenage daughter out the door. When he tried to the mattress out the window to save his apartment, it got stuck. Castillo and his sister-inlaw were cut off from the door by a wall of flames.

Both victims are recovering at the burn unit at Weill Cornell Hospital.