Man Killed in High-Rise Apartment Building Fire

Smoke billows from the 35th floor of a Manhattan high rise building early Monday. (Ian Handler/WPIX via AP)

A 76-year-old man was killed Monday in a wind-whipped fire at a midtown Manhattan high-rise apartment building. Two firefighters were also injured in the blaze that tore through the 35th floor of a 36-story building.

Fire Department spokesman Michael Parrella said firefighters were hampered by high winds and malfunctioning elevators as they tried to get to the top of the building.

He said the injured firefighters, treated at hospitals, had non-life-threatening injuries. The fire, reported shortly after 7:30 a.m., drew over 100 firefighters before it was under control at 9 a.m. Parrella said the fire was contained to one apartment. The cause is under investigation.

Police said the victim was found unconscious and unresponsive in a bedroom. His identity was not immediately released.

“It was a heavy, wind-driven fire,” Assistant Chief Joe Woznica said of the two-alarm blaze that sent smoke billowing toward a blue sky. He added that the conditions made it “pretty hot and dangerous” for the 25 fire department units that responded to the scene.

The fire occurred on 56th Street in an area of Manhattan crowded with tourists.

Firefighters were forced to walk up the stairs of the highest 10 flights when slow elevators hampered their ascent.

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