3 injured as fire tears through upper Manhattan apartment building

3 injured as fire tears through upper Manhattan apartment building

A fire ripped through an upper Manhattan apartment building Sunday afternoon, injuring three people and sending residents scrambling onto fire escapes, fire officials and witnesses said.

The fire started at about 12 p.m. in a second-floor apartment of the six-story building on West 163rd Street near Broadway in Washington Heights, the FDNY said.

Some residents climbed down the building’s fire escape to safety before firefighters arrived on scene — with neighbors helping other neighbors pass young children down the ladders, said resident Bianca Hoc, 26.

“I thought it was spectacular how quickly neighbors were reacting to evacuate before the fire department even got here,” said Hoc, who works as a production coordinator at ESPN.

The fire escapes were jammed with residents when smoke-eaters first responded, FDNY Battalion Chief Joseph Dudley said after the blaze. “The fire escapes were a little overloaded. We had to get some extra ladders to help people down,” he said. “We had some kids, some elderly, we did have some handicapped people in the building.”

Other residents described thick smoke billowing from a lower floor that left them trapped until firefighters arrived.

Carlos Cibrian, was sleeping in his third-floor apartment when someone knocked on his door and alerted him to the flames. “We tried to go out but the second level [was] on fire. We can’t go up. We go back to the apartment,” he told the Post. “It’s a lot of smoke in the way.”

Cibrian’s cousin, Gabriella Zapata, 37, said she couldn’t flee on a fire escape because the smoke billowing up was too thick.

A smoke-eater told both of them to stay put and they were rescued about five minutes later, they said.

Firefighters were able to contain the flames soon after 1 p.m., fire officials said. Three people were injured in the blaze, including two firefighters. All injuries appeared to be non-life threatening, officials said.

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