Child Seriously Injured in East Harlem Fire

By Julie Shapiro and Natalie Musumeci  on September 23, 2012 8:50pm  | Updated on September 24, 2012 2:00pm

Broken windows at 426 E. 118th St. where a fire damaged 12 apartments Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.
Broken windows at 426 E. 118th St. where a fire damaged 12 apartments Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Natalie Musumeci

EAST HARLEM — Six people were hurt, including a baby, in a fire in East Harlem Sunday night, officials said.

The baby, as young as 2-months old, suffered serious injuries and was taken to Harlem Hospital Center after the blaze broke out on the third floor of 426 E. 118th St., a six-story building that holds 78 units, about 6:30 p.m., an FDNY spokesman said.

More than 100 firefighters responded and brought the flames under control just before 8 p.m., the FDNY spokesman said.

An adult also suffered serious injuries and was taken to Harlem Hospital Center, the FDNY said. Four firefighters were also hurt, one seriously, and they were taken to St. Luke's, the FDNY said.

"I'm relieved everyone was safe," said Celia Ramirez, the property owner. "The damages are a big expense, but there is no dollar amount of worth on a human life."

Ramirez, 60, said residents helped each other and aided handicapped residents down the stairs to safety.

"I heard somebody scream fire and then I tried to get everybody out of the building," Ramirez, 61, said.

"Everyone really worked together in unison," she said as her eyes welled.

The fire started in a third-floor, three-bedroom apartment, according to Ramirez. The blaze tore through the building, forcing fire fighters to break through the roof to put out the fire.

A dozen apartments of the property were damaged, Ramirez said.

"The damage is a whole quarter of the building," she said. "The apartments are destroyed. Everything is damaged."

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

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