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Blaze Rips Through East 118th St. Building, Two Hurt

By Dana Varinsky | December 15, 2013 1:49pm
 A fire burned through two floors of an East Harlem building early Sunday morning, FDNY officials said.
East Harlem Fire Injures Two on E.118th St.
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EAST HARLEM — A fire broke out in an East Harlem apartment building early Sunday morning, injuring two residents, fire officials said.

The blaze started just before 3:30 a.m in a third-floor apartment at 426 East 118th Street, according to the FDNY.

Fire department officials said the flames spread to the apartment on the fourth floor. All tenants were evacuated, along with the residents of neighboring buildings. Two people were rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

An investigation into the fire's causes was ongoing Sunday.

Jane Mendez, who lives in the building, said she and her brother helped evacuate their grandmother, who also lives in the building. “When we opened the door, it was all pitch black. You couldn’t see nothing,” she said.  “I was amazed, in less than ten minutes it was that dark. You couldn’t breathe.”

Mendez said she watched flames explode from the fourth-floor windows while waiting on the street.  Although the fire did not affect Mendez’s apartment, a first-floor resident who declined to be named said her ceiling had extensive water damage, forcing her to vacate the apartment until repairs are completed.

The building manager, who would not disclose her name, declined to comment on the fire.

The blaze was brought under control by 4:00 a.m.