Fire Injures 33 at Manhattan High-Rise Building

February 8, 2008

A fire that tore through a store on the first floor of an apartment building on New York’s Upper East Side injured 33 people Thursday morning, including 19 firefighters, officials said.

All of the injuries were minor except for one firefighter, who was hospitalized in serious but not life-threatening condition, the Fire Department said.

Some 138 firefighters tackled the blaze, which closed three blocks of Third Avenue and forced tenants out of the 34-story apartment building for hours. Reported shortly after 5 a.m., the blaze was under control by about 6:30 a.m.

The fire was visible in a newsstand and stationery store at 72nd Street and Third Avenue, said Rusty Pacheco, who watched from Grace’s Marketplace next door.

“The moment we heard the alarm next door and we saw the flames go up, we got out of the building because we didn’t know what was going on,” he said. His staff was unhurt, but the specialty food store suffered some water damage, he said.

The phone rang unanswered at the stationery store Thursday morning.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

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