New York City NY Oct 21 2016 Three people were injured when a fire tore through an apartment building on the Upper East Side early Thursday, fire officials said.
The fire broke out shortly before 2:10 a.m. on the fourth floor of the building on Third Avenue. The fire then spread to the fifth floor of the building, according to fire officials.
Jim Kirby has lived next door to the building since 1978. He was wrapped in a blanket as he recalled the moment he realized the building next door was in flames.
"I smelled this horrible smoke in my building. It was just completely acrid. So I had to exit through the fire escape," Kirby said.
Three people suffered minor injuries and were taken to Lenox Hill Hospital. No firefighters were injured in the blaze.
The number of injuries could have been higher if not for a security guard who was working next door
Willie Robinson was working security at a construction site when he saw flames from the back of the building. After calling 911, he risked his own life going through smoke and flames to get inside to help others.
"I banged on every door that I could bang on to get everybody out," Robinson said. "I got most of the people out of the building."
Robinson acted quickly but wasn't able to get to the fifth floor. That's when firefighters took over.
"I was closing my eyes. I kind of got a little overwhelmed because I couldn't get the people from the top floor out. So I just ran from the building and let the fire department do their thing," Robinson said.
The fire was mostly knocked out by 4 a.m. and was declared under control shortly after 5 a.m.
The cause of the fire wasn’t immediately known.