Sunday, December 21, 2014

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Power Strip Blamed in Fire That Killed Manhattan Teen

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TWC News: Power Strip Blamed in Fire That Killed Manhattan Teen
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A four-alarm fire in Hamilton Heights that claimed the life of a 15-year-old girl Monday night was accidentally caused by a power strip, investigators say.

The fire broke out just before 6 p.m. inside 512 West 136 Street in Hamilton Heights.

The city fire department says the flames started on the first floor and quickly spread up to the top.

It took nearly 200 firefighters about two hours to get the fire under control.

The victim, identified as Melisa Mendez, 15, was found dead at the top of a staircase on the sixth floor.

Her father, Antonio Mendez, tells NY1 he lost track of her during the hectic scene.

"I thought she was behind me. I then entered the neighbor's apartment and when I opened the door I didn't see her. I walked down the fire escape and until today I haven't seen her again," Mendez said.

Two other people who live in the building suffered minor injuries.

Ten firefighters were also injured.

Fire investigators say the power strip was plugged into an extension cord that ran under heavy furniture.

The Red Cross says it is helping about two dozen families who were displaced by the fire.

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