Apartment Fire In High-Rise on 72nd Street; Cat Perishes


By Carol Tannenhauser

A cat died in a fire at the Ruxton Towers, a 17-story, prewar apartment building at 50 West 72nd Street, at around 1:40 a.m., on Tuesday. There were no other injuries. The cat’s owner had been admitted to the hospital on Monday for an unrelated illness. The FDNY gave no reason for the fire, which occurred on the eighth floor and was “very smoky,” a tenant said. Seventy-eight FDNY and EMS personnel responded, and the fire was under control by 2:47 a.m., according to an FDNY spokesperson. Another tenant provided an eyewitness account.

The alarm and the smell of smoke woke most people up. As I was walking down the stairs I passed the firemen headed upstairs with hoses. People seemed nervous but for the most part remained calm. Once outside people were mostly checking to see that their friends and neighbors were safe and accounted for. Maybe 100 or so people and pets were outside. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits considering.”

Photograph by Ryan Gold.

NEWS | 7 comments | permalink
    1. DS Perras says:

      So glad all humans are ok, and so sorry for the deceased cat. I want to particularly note the photo of the firefighters…good capture, well done!

    2. Neighbor says:

      Great response by the firemen! This was next door to me and the entire street was full of firemen and police. I feel so bad for the cat. I’m glad the people and other pets are ok.

    3. MB/UWSer says:

      I offer my thoughts and prayers of comfort and support to the owner and the cat. So thankful the other tenants are ok too.

      This is a familiar tragedy – I’ve experienced an apartment fire with pets some years ago, and all the tenants in the building were disrupted too! My heart goes out to all today.

      • MB/UWSer says:

        ….for the loss of the owner’s beloved four-legged friend…..

        I wasn’t clear in my original comment.

    4. Ruxtoner says:

      Great job by the NYFD as always!

    5. Yael says:

      I feel so very sorry for the cat’s human, who was in hospital…and of course, for the poor cat. My deepest condolences to him/her, for losing a beloved member of their family. Also, so proud of the NYFD.

    6. NativeNYer says:

      This building is two doors away from my building and I am very thankful to the West Side Rag for this report as well of, of course, for all emergency personnel. Since the building between my building and this one is approximately 4 stories, this apartment directly faces my windows. I felt so sad watching as the fireman crashed out the bedroom and bathroom windows, and I saw heavy smoke plumes exit. I was shaking because I knew that, if anyone was still inside that apartment, they would not likely have survived; so sorry to hear about the loss of a pet. I saw firemen frantically sorting through all of the tenant’s belongings and it looked like they were tossing a couple of smaller items outside the window. I then saw them spray water from the hose out the window twice. I’m wondering if this was an electrical fire bc the apartment remained dark (circuit breakers possibly turned off) and the firemen used flashlights in that apartment and in the one above it (which may not have been damaged based on what I can see). I later saw a Con Edison truck parked outside after the emergency vehicles had departed. My heart breaks for the tenant who is hospitalized and had to be told about the death of her cat and the damage to her apartment. The entire block was filled with emergency vehicles and was closed off. Hundreds of tenants and their pets lined the block for nearly two hours. It was 3:30am by the time it all wrapped up and I’m glad that everyone else was safe and that, perhaps, the damages were limited to that one apartment. The building structure, surrounding that apartment, does not at all appear to be damaged since there were no flames. As the firemen exited, they approached the back of an emergency vehicle which provided large tanks of water for hydration. I have a very deep appreciation for the challenging work they do.