Updated Fri., Dec. 17, 6:30 a.m.: One man died and three others were injured in a roaring apartment fire at the Riis Houses on Thursday morning, police said.
According to news reports and as seen in a neighbor’s dramatic video, two teenagers — a brother and sister — survived by shimmying four stories down a pipe on the building’s side to safety as the flames raged.
Police responding around 7 a.m. to a 911 call of a fire at 118 Avenue D, between Eighth and Ninth Streets, found firefighters working to put out the blaze.
Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters discovered an unconscious and unresponsive adult male in the apartment. E.M.S. medics already on scene pronounced the man dead.
In addition, two women, ages 46 and 18, and a 13-year-old boy were removed to New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital. The older woman is listed in critical condition. The teens were reported in stable condition.
The Daily News reported the victim was the older woman’s boyfriend and that he stored electric bicycles in the apartment that he would repair, and that the teens are her children.
“The room was filled with bikes,” a neighbor told the News. “I said, ‘God forbid there should be a fire. How would you get out?’ God forbid, I predicted it.”
E-bikes’ replacement lithium batteries have been a safety concern, causing more than 93 fires this year, according to Fire Department officials.
The blaze’s cause will be determined by Fire Department fire marshals.
Police were withholding public release of the victim’s name pending proper notification of his family. The investigation is ongoing.