NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly a dozen people are recovering from injuries and several families are without a home after a Bronx apartment building went up in flame on Monday.
The fire started just before noon on 163rd Street in the Melrose section.
Exclusive video obtained by CBS2 shows people scrambling down a fire escape and leaping to the ground.
More than 100 firefighters responded. Two of them suffered minor injuries, along with one police officer, who cut his hand on broken glass trying to rescue children.
Seven civilians were also injured, one seriously.
Many of the residents say their smoke alarms never went off, and if it weren’t for heroes in the neighborhood, this could have been much worse, CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported.
Cellphone video captured people climbing down ladders to escape the giant flames from the second floor of the building on 163rd Street.
“A lot of people were jumping off the fire escape also when they got to the second-floor landing,” said witness Peter Ortega. “It was really scary. It was really intense.”
“I saw a fireman come out with a lady in his arms,” said Hellen Matos. “I think she got burnt really bad.”
There were also heroes in the crowd. Alex Piniero, a security guard across the street, smelled smoke and ran in to save whoever he could.
“I seen a kid in the third floor screaming for his mom, but I run upstairs and I grabbed him, put him in my arms, I ran outside,” he said. “And then I saw a lady — she just fainted right in my arms in the first floor, and I carried her out.”
People had to knock on neighbors’ doors just to get everyone out because the fire alarms were not working, residents said.
“Somebody said ‘fire, fire!’ so I run. I start knocking doors,” one resident said.
“There was no fire alarms that rang, so no one on the fifth floor would have known if no one went knocking,” Matos said.
The landlord told CBS2 the fire alarms and sprinklers were working fine.
“There are fire extinguishers in every apartment,” he said.
The cause of fire is under investigation.