Two teenagers escaped a deadly fire in a Manhattan high-rise building by sliding down a pole and their escape was caught on video.
In the video, the two teens are seen surrounded by clouds of ash as flames tore through the building on Thursday. One teen who is seen dangling off of a window, latches onto the pole and sticks their hand out to help the other teen escape out the window. Nearby bystanders can be heard shouting “hold on, don’t let go” as they watched the teens struggle to flee.
The teens were a 18-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy who both made it safely out of the scene. However, a 32-year-old man was discovered dead in the apartment by firefighters. Three people sustained life-threatening injuries and the other four suffered non-life-threatening injuries, the FDNY confirmed.
Video of teens escape: Teens climb down pole to escape NYC fire
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“Early yesterday morning in the East Village, a fire on the fourth floor caused the death of a young man, left a woman clinging to life, and injured two teenagers. Our Fire Marshals have determined once again that this fire was caused by lithium-ion batteries from an electric bike,” Fire Department of New York Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in a Friday press briefing.
In a statement provided to PEOPLE, Nigro credited their “youth and athletic prowess” and “their ability to climb out a window and shimmy down a pipe” as a reason the incident “was not even more tragic.”
Nigro added the fire was part of an alarming trend in the city, last year there were only 44 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries. However this year, he said they’ve had 93 fires, more than 70 injuries and now four deaths caused by lithium-ion battery fires. The FDNY is urging people to charge these batteries away from areas where people sleep, preferably in an outdoor setting.
He added “as the number of batteries grow, the danger will grow.”
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