Several hurt after wind-swept fire rips through Washington Heights apartment

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan (WABC) -- There were some scary moments in Washington Heights on Sunday afternoon when several people were hurt after a fire ripped through the top floor of a six story building. Many residents were sent scrambling onto fire escapes.

The fire broke out just after noon on 549 W. 163rd Street. Fire officials say the fire took about an hour to get under control. One resident is in serious but stable condition after being burned. Two firefighters were also injured.

"He was in shock. He was burned - his face, he was messed up. Half of his legs were messed up. He was very burned," said resident Alvonse Baes.

Some residents evacuated without any shoes on their feet in the chilly weather. Elderly mothers were seen holding children as they made their way down from the building on ladders.

Fire marshals say the fire was accidental and was started by a candle. They say the resident fled, leaving the apartment door open, causing the wind to spread flames throughout the building.

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