5 injured, including firefighter, in Bronx apartment fire

MOTT HAVEN, Bronx (WABC) -- At least five people people suffered smoke inhalation during a fire in the Bronx on Monday.

It wasn't the flames but the black, choking smoke that caused a major scare for the many tenants of the Mitchel Houses.

The fire broke out shortly after noon inside the trash compactor of the NYCHA apartment building on east 138th Street.

Canineya Means grabbed her daughter and her dog and hurried down nine flights of stairs.

"I just came out the ambulance, I couldn't breathe," Means said. " Yeah, it was bad. When I opened up my door it was covered, I couldn't see nothing."

About 80 firefighters responded and quickly extinguished the flames.

The battalion chief said the fire started in the compactor shaft on the second floor.

3rd stimulus check: Why you shouldn't expect another payment for weeks -- if at all
EMBED More News Videos

Biden says will not wait for GOP lawmakers to get behind the COVID-19 relief package.



The resulting smoke rose back up the shaft and poured out onto each floor of the 20-story high-rise building.

"Once the fire is out the smoke sits in the building," Battalion chief Sean Michael said. "It's a tall building and we just help to vent out the smoke inside the building and calm the people. Go into all the apartments, check all the apartments and make sure everyone is safe."

Elizabeth Gonzalez rushed into the building after her daughter called her in a panic.

"I saw all the smoke coming from all the floors, even the 18th floor," Gonzalez said. "Mad smoke was coming out of all the floors. And I was down here devastated waiting for her to come down and thank God that everything is OK."

Fire department EMTs came to the aid of four civilians for smoke inhalation. One person was taken to Lincoln Hospital for additional treatment.

One firefighter was also treated at the scene and went to Jacobi Medical Center. His condition is not yet known.

The chief said responding firefighters did hear smoke detectors inside the building.

TRENDING: Security warning out for TikTok users baring all in silhouette challenge
EMBED More News Videos

TikTok is tightening its privacy practices for the under-18 crowd. Here are the changes parents and teens should know.



----------
* More Bronx news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.