High Rise Fire Forces Tenant to Flee Apartment, Sends Plumes of Acrid Smoke Across Yorkville

Smoke billows from NYCHA building on First Avenue/Max Burns
Smoke billows from NYCHA building on First Avenue/Max Burns

MANHATTAN – A raging fire believed to have started inside a trash compactor sent thick plumes of smoke billowing from the roof of a high rise Monday afternoon— spreading across the Upper East Side, leaving much of Yorkville covered in an acrid stink and forcing at least one tenant to flee for their life as their apartment filled with smoke.

Firefighters battle trash compactor fire at building in NYCHA's Isaac Houses-Holmes Towers/Upper East Site
Firefighters battle trash compactor fire at building in NYCHA’s Isaac Houses-Holmes Towers/Upper East Site

Firefighters raced to the scene of the fire on First Avenue at East 93rd Street, inside a building within the Isaac Houses-Holmes Towers New York City Housing Authority development around 2:15 pm Monday afternoon. 

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A photo taken at the height of the fire shows smoke appearing to billow from the trash chute which was serving a chimney— one neighbor mentioned on social media seeing the cloud of smoke pass their building.

Smoke billows from NYCHA building on First Avenue/Max Burns
Smoke billows from NYCHA building on First Avenue/Max Burns

Upper East Site found fire trucks lining First Avenue and tenants waiting outside the building near East 93rd Street in the cold January temperatures fire crews went to work. Others looked down from their open windows to see the commotion going on in their yard, waiting for the all-clear.

Residents wait outside while firefighters extinguish the flames/Upper East Site
Residents wait outside while firefighters extinguish the flames/Upper East Site

Officials haven’t said whether any injuries were reported in the fire, though one tenant of NYCHA’s Isaac Houses-Holmes Towers, Saundrea Coleman, told us a relative of hers who lives near the trash chute had to flee their apartment because it filled up with noxious smoke coming through vents as the trash compactor fire burned.

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Other tenants, Saundrea says, were terrified inside their apartments– the thought of the recent Bronx fire tragedy weighing on their minds.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the flames quickly and had the situation under control within a half hour.

Firefighters leave the NYCHA building on First Avenue/Upper East Site
Firefighters leave the NYCHA building on First Avenue/Upper East Site

Smoke that smelled like burnt plastic hung so heavy in the air over Yorkville Monday afternoon and it seeped into other buildings blocks away— leading some neighbors to worry if it was their own building was on fire.

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