1 person killed in Washington Heights apartment fire

WABC logo
Sunday, February 5, 2023
1 dead in Washington Heights apartment fire
One person was killed in an apartment fire in Washington Heights. Johny Fernandez has more.

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS (WABC) -- One person was killed in a Washington Heights apartment fire Saturday morning.

Authorities say flames broke out just after 6 a.m. on the fourth floor of a building on West 180th Street.

Citizen App video shows flames bursting through the apartment on one of the coldest days of the year.

As the sun came up, more than 60 firefighters braved the bone-chilling wind and cold as they tried to control the smoke coming out of the building.

"It was very difficult, icy conditions. Everything is slippery and cold," one person said.

Pennsylvania Perez lives on the first floor. She thought the fire was due to a gas leak in the building and didn't hear an alarm.

"Bueno yo pense que era una fega de gas," Perez said.

The FDNY made their way to the fourth floor unit, but had trouble reaching a 70-year-old man who didn't make it. His cause of death remains under investigation.

Perez says she knew the man who died and is heartbroken for her neighbor of almost 30 years.

"We had delays getting into the apartment due to a heavy cluttered apartment," FDNY Chief McCormick said.

Firefighters say they didn't have any problems with the nearby fire hydrant, despite it being so cold.

"It's just really sad. I haven't seen that. The weather is terrible. It's cold. I just feel for those people, Nathan Lucrezio, who lives nearby, said.

The American Red Cross is stepping in to help those who can't go back home and the FDNY shared advice on how to avoid something like this from happening again, especially on a cold day.

"Just be careful of any kind of alternate heating systems. I'm not saying that's the cause of this fire, but obviously when it gets cold, people try to heat their apartment any way they can," the department said.

The victim has not been identified. Fire Marshals are trying to determine how the fire started.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* Follow us on YouTube

* More local news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.