Fire Tears Through Apartment Building on 76th Street, Injuring Eight People


Photos by André Wlodar.

A fire in an apartment building on 76th Street early Friday morning injured eight people, including one firefighter.

The fire at 303 West 76th Street between Riverside and West End, was called in at 1:35 a.m., drawing 25 units and 106 firefighters. It started on the second floor, according to an FDNY spokesman. Eight people were reported injured and taken to local hospitals; the injuries were considered non-life-threatening.

The fire was declared under control at 2:43 a.m., and it did not spread to other buildings, according to the FDNY. The cause is under investigation.

Witness Marianne Hettinger, who took the photo below, told us that “people had to be rescued with the fire ladder. Another couple escaped over the roof in socks and pajamas and ran across a few roofs until they could find their way down. Flames were shooting out of the 2nd story windows.”

A Good Samaritan apparently warned people throughout the area about the fire, a reader named Kirsten told us.

“My family, who live on 77th street, was all awoken sometime after 1am by a person yelling very loudly. As we woke up we came to understand that he was saying “303, wake up, fire” over and over. It was pretty incredible as I am sure he helped the inhabitants of the building get out more quickly as he was able to wake us up a block away.”


How the building looked later in the morning.

NEWS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Wendy says:

      Very scary. I’m glad that everyone was able to get away or be rescued. Kudos to the NYFD and the good samaritan!

    2. Jean says:

      No sprinklers?

      • Upperwestsidewally says:

        I believe most (older) apartment buildings do not have sprinkler systems throughout, or in any one single residential unit.

        • Michele says:

          I lived in this apartment (the one the fire was in) and I know we had smoke detectors but not sure if we had sprinklers–i want to say yes? But that was before the building was sold to a developer. I really hope everyone is ok. I loved that apartment.

      • HA says:

        I lived in that building, and was there that night. Yes, we had sprinklers, but only in the hallways, not in the individual units. They worked, thank god.

    3. Robert W says:

      Fires move so fast in these old buildings–tenements and brownstones. I’ve seen several over the years. Be careful.

    4. Madd Donna says:

      There have been too many fires this season. What’s the point of reporting them if the public never ever finds out what caused them?? Electric heaters?? The public has the right to know!! All we ever hear is the fires are being investigated but we never find out about the final outcome.

    5. Yael says:

      Bravo to the Good Samaritan & NYFD. Hope those who were injured pull through.

    6. LG says:

      Absolutely frightening, horrible night. I live directly across the street in 302. A little after 1:30AM, I woke up to hear a man yelling and running down the street saying 303, there’s a fire, get out of the building. It took at least 5 minutes after that for the fire trucks to arrive. Our building was not evacuated. A lot of people left 303 through the front door, screaming and running. I saw one woman rescued by ladder from the top floor at least 45 minutes after the fire started. Another woman in just a t-shirt and shorts and barefoot was helped across the street when the fire was already burning quite strongly. Very scary for everyone on the street and I truly feel for all of the tenants and hope everyone recovers from their injuries soon. Truly sorry to hear that someone’s dog didn’t make it. 🙁

    7. Jerome36 says:

      Dogs are truly mans’ best friend!
      May the family take solace in the fact that he may have saved lives.

    8. William Schwartz MD says:

      I lived at 303 1976-1977 .
      My neighbors were a couple (Brusic) who, on On September 10, 1976, hijacked TWA flight 355, a 727 en route from LGA to ORD as it cruised over Elmira, New York. They had boarded the aircraft with a kitchen pressure cooker, allegedly containing a bomb to commandeer the aircraft. Their purpose was to use media attention to publicize the plight of the Croats in Yugoslavia and appeal for Croatian Independence.

      As they made stops in Montreal and Iceland, the hijackers demanded that pamphlets be printed detailing the alleged persecution of their fellow countrymen, and that these be dropped by other aircraft flown over Chicago, Montreal, New York City, London and Paris.

      To prove they were serious, they had left an actual bomb in a locker in New York’s Grand Central Station, to which they had directed the authorities. Unfortunately, as the Bomb Squad attempted to disarm the bomb at a disposal site in the Bronx, it exploded killing a Police Officer and injuring a second. The saga eventually was ended in Paris when then French authorities shot out the aircraft tires and convinced the hijackers to surrender. The hijackers were arrested and immediately returned via French military aircraft to New York for arraignment. A few days later, the passengers and crew of Flight 355 were boarded on TWA Flight 803 for their return to JFK.

    9. NYYgirl says:

      Terrifying. Thank you FDNY for everything you do!!

    10. Jenny says:

      A poor dog died….