NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A 1-year-old baby was killed and six other people were injured, two of them critically, after a fire broke out at a building in Brooklyn Wednesday morning.
The flames erupted around 8:30 a.m. inside an apartment on the 13th floor of the Howard Houses on Mother Gaston Boulevard in Brownsville. It was brought under control about 45 minutes later.
Video from the scene showed thick smoke coming out of a top floor window as firefighters stood on the roof of the building. Pictures from a 13th floor neighbor showed the destruction left behind in the apartment where fire broke out with seven people inside.
“After forcing entry and knocking down the fire, we discovered seven individuals who occupied the apartment,” said FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Wayne Cartwright.
One woman said she saw the fire on her morning commute and rushed to a nearby emergency call box.
“There was a lot of flames coming out and people were hanging their hands out saying, ‘Fire, fire, help me, help me,” Natesha Barrett told CBS2’s Ali Bauman. “A lot of people coming out on stretchers, like four or five people, including a baby. They were running with a baby.”
Eduardo Nunez lives in 13E, firefighters told him to leave as they banged on doors looking for flames.
“I was waiting in the lobby because it was cold. I have shirt, in my pajamas,” he said.
They found the fire in 13A.
Nunez said firefighters brought a woman out and administered CPR.
“The man had scratches on his back, but he was okay,” he said.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed the baby’s death and said two adults “are fighting for their lives.” Four more people who were inside the apartment were also injured and taken to a nearby hospital, but are expected to be OK.
The baby was identified as Ivan Baez, Bauman reported.
“He just had a diaper on and his body wasn’t moving,” witness Angela Joye said. “I realize it wasn’t my family, but you know that 1-year-old turns into my 2-year-old when you see him.”
The other six victims, ages 8 to 40, were treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries.
Fire officials said the entire floor had severe smoke damage, even where the flames did not reach.
“Right now, the only people being allowed up are fire marshals to investigate the cause,” said Cartwright.
Residents on lower floors were allowed being inside, but some said their apartments have water damage.
The Red Cross said it reached out to the hospital where the family was taken to offer them assistance.
The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but investigators said it started in the kitchen.