10 injured in fire that tore through Chinatown building

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Saturday, March 25, 2023
10 injured in fire that tore through Chinatown building
Firefighters are working to extinguish a large fire in a Chinatown building on Mott Street. Morgan Norwood has the latest details.

CHINATOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Several people were injured after a fire that tore through a building in Chinatown Friday afternoon.

The fire started in a gift shop on the first floor of the building located at 47 Mott Street and quickly spread to the upper floors.

"Upon arrival they were met with heavy fire conditions in the front," FDNY Assistant Chief of FIie Operations Thomas Currao said. "They had fire racing up the front of the building, occupied building very, very challenging. It was really for the efforts of the firefighters that came in quickly, stretched the lines quickly, got into the building that that mitigated any any loss of life."

Sirens wailed as more trucks arrived at the blazing inferno as smoke poured from the windows. It could be seen several blocks away.

Two civilians and eight firefighters were treated for minor injuries, according to the FDNY.

One woman told Eyewitness News reporter Morgan Norwood she jumped from the fire escape.

Resident Danny Chen's 80-year-old mother was trapped on the third floor as the flames overtook the building.

"Firefighter carried her down, she cannot see anything, but when she opened the door all the smoke came," Chen said.

But fire crews weren't the only heroes, residents rescued their neighbors.

They had to escape through the front fire escape and one of the guys had only an orange robe on and slippers and helped two other women. One of the women had a young child and he helped all of them get out safely.

When it was all said and done, the gift shop was gutted, t-shirts were strewn across the sidewalk along with burned coffee mugs.

Fire crews are trying to figure out what caused this.

"We'll be staying on scene for quite a while," FDNY Assistant Chief Paul Miano said. "Our Bureau of Fire Investigations is on scene and they will be continuing to do their investigation."

In the meantime, the families displaced from the 21-unit building begin the difficult journey to recovery. The Red Cross was on the scene passing out blankets, coffee and connecting them with resources.

Chen and his brother are waiting to see what they can salvage from their third-floor apartment, but thankfully they have what matters to them the most.

"At least my mother is safe, that's the only thing," he said.

Officials say there's no indication this was sparked from a lithium-ion battery.


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