An unidentified woman trying to escape a fire in a fifth floor apartment in the Bronxdale Houses at 1836 Watson Avenue climbed out of the window and fell to the ground when her grip on the air conditioner failed. According to a witness who spoke to the News, “She was hanging on to the air conditioner and she lost her grip. She did not scream. She hit the steps and bounced.” Another witness told the Post that “her legs were definitely broken, both of them. She was in shock.”
Rocco Cocciolillo, a firefighter from Ladder 54 in the South Bronx, found the woman lying on the ground still conscious, and she told him there was someone still trapped inside Apartment 5D. Cocciolillo and another firefighter took the stairs to the fifth floor, broke down the door of the apartment and found an unidentified man on the floor of the living room. According to CBS, he has burns over 65% of his body.
According to the Times, 60 to 65 firefighters were called to the fire, which they put out within half an hour. Officials told the Post that the fire started in the living room, which their source described as “like an oven.” A Deputy fire chief told NY1 that he believed the fire started in an electrical outlet and spread to a fold out couch.
By all accounts, the cause of the fire, which was reportedly limited to the burning apartment, is currently under investigation.
Both victims were taken to Jacobi Hospital, where they are in critical condition.