Updated 01/25/2013 04:15 PM
FDNY: Fire Detector Saved Lives Of Washington Heights Tenants
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City fire officials say an overloaded outlet is to blame for a fast-moving fire inside an Upper Manhattan building early Friday morning and that a working fire detector likely prevented serious injuries.
The New York City Fire Department says flames broke out just after 4:30 a.m. inside an apartment building with ground floor retail space located at 564 West 188th Street in Washington Heights.
The fire started on the second floor, burned inside the walls as it moved to the first floor, then spread as it moved its way back upstairs.
"The difficulty in this fire was the fire was traveling through the voids within the building so in order to get control of that we had to rip into the Walls and ceilings in order to get water on the fire," said FDNY Assistant Deputy Chief Jack Mooney.
Some residents who spoke with NY1 at the scene said they were not able to hear fire alarms.
"There were people knocking on doors and screaming to rush everyone down to the lobby of the building but there was no fire alarm sound," said one tenant.
"We were lucky, we woke up. Because honestly I was nervous. There was no fire alarm going off or anything," said another tenant.
"Just having our stove on will set off the fire detector in our kitchen. So We're constantly having to shut it down. So I can't believe when there's a fire raging and burning three or four floors, none of the smoke detectors go off," noted a third tenant.
The fire was under control around 6 a.m. and some residents were able to return to their apartments.
Water quickly turned to ice in the cold weather, leaving sheets of ice on cars, walls and the street.
One person was treated at the hospital for a minor injury, while one firefighter was treated for debris in his eye.
The fire department says a working smoke alarm in the apartment where the fire started helped keep injuries to a minimum.
A spokesman for the property management company says fire alarms may not have gone off in most apartments because the tenants did not maintain them. He also said there are no alarms in the building hallways because they're not required by law.