New York City Chinatown fire injures 10, displaces over 50 residents
By Michelle De Pacina
March 27, 2023
A large fire erupted in New York City’s Chinatown on Friday, injuring at least 10 people and displacing over 50 residents.
The three-alarm fire started in a ground-floor souvenir shop at 47 Mott Street before climbing up to the apartments in the six-story building at 2:30 p.m. local time on Friday.
“It looked pretty small, but then it started spreading real quick,” witness Jhesson Ynoa told CBS News. “It looked like an inferno. We started hearing pops, pops. The pops were getting louder, so we thought something was gonna blow up.”
Footage of the incident shows the dramatic moments residents escaped the building, including a woman with a child in her arms being rescued from the raging flames.
“I encountered one of the residents who helped people,” New York State Assemblymember Grace Lee told PIX11 News. “He was escaping in his bathrobe. He got down safely with two other people with children. He was really worried about his cat.”
Ten people suffered minor injuries, including two civilians and eight firefighters, as 140 firefighters worked to extinguish the flames.
“It was really for the efforts of the firefighters that came in quickly, quickly got into the building that mitigated any loss of life,” New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Assistant Chief Thomas Currao said.
“They were met with heavy fire conditions. They had fire racing up the front of the building. Occupied building. Very, very challenging.”
The FDNY has yet to determine the cause of the fire.
Following the fire, many residents whose apartments were destroyed registered with the Red Cross for emergency shelter.
The souvenir store, Fu Hao Gift Shop, was opened a little over a year ago by Inamul Haque Bhuiyan. Souvenirs littered the street as Bhuiyan’s livelihood was reduced to rubble.
“I’m broken,” Bhuiyan told Spectrum News. “Very quickly, very quick. Less than one minute. I call 911 and then I come outside.”
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