A fire that tore through a residential skyscraper in Hell’s Kitchen yesterday killed one person and badly injured his husband, according to police. The blaze at the 41-story 500 West 43rd Street, a building known as the Strand, broke out Sunday morning in a 20th floor apartment . A 27-year-old man, identified by police as Daniel McClung, was killed as he tried to escape from the 32nd floor. His husband, Michael Cohen, suffered severe smoke inhalation and remains in the hospital.
“Unfortunately, in this fire, it appears that the victims may have been originally inside their apartments safe and exited the apartments and become the victims in the stairwells,” assistant fire chief John Sudhik told the New York Daily News.
Residents told the newspaper that management didn’t give them clear instructions about what to do during the crisis. Moreover, the fire department had grounded the building’s three elevators for safety purposes, according to the newspaper.
About 150 firefighters fought the fire for about an hour and 40 minutes, fire department officials told the News. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
A fire department spokesperson told the News that residents should have remained inside their units.
“This is a fireproof building and in the case of a fire – in most instances – it is safer to stay put in your apartment and wait for directions from the fire department or building services,” FDNY spokesperson James Long told the paper. [NYDN] – Hiten Samtani