MANHATTAN – Four firefighters were hurt battling a stubborn fire that sparked in a ground-floor restaurant in a building on First Avenue near East 95th Street on the Upper East Side and quickly spread to the second floor— sending plumes of thick black smoke throughout the building, all the way to the fifth floor.
FDNY officials say the call for help came in around 5:00 am Tuesday morning and crews were on the scene at within four minutes– but didn’t see flames, just smoke rising from the building.
Firefighters had to use a grinder to cut their way through the metal roll down shutters to get inside the Dragon One restaurant, located at 1843 First Avenue— thats where they found heavy smoke and fire stretching from the front of the five story building, all the way to the back.
Things turned scary for firefighters when the ceiling of the first floor restaurant collapsed and came crashing down on the men— leaving four of them injured and needing medical attention.
Two firefighters were taken to Weill Cornel Medical Center, the others rushed to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital for care— they’re all expected to be okay.
Tenants of the building, told Upper East Site they awoke to the choking smoke filling their building and sounds of alarms blaring— and quickly got downstairs and outside.
Some tenants forced out by the fire could been seen standing across the street from their building on this chilly November morning— trying to keep warm while wearing their pajamas— as firefighters smashed out all the buildings windows to release the smoke trapped inside.
Thankfully, no civilian injuries were reported.
Officials say this was a particularly difficult fire to knock down, with pockets of flames in the walls and between floors— forcing crews to rip open walls and floors to battle the flames— describing the situation as ‘labor intensive’ for the more than 160 firefighters on the scene.
The cause of the fire is under investigation— Fire Marshalls and the NYPD were on scene already looking for clues in the destruction.