FDNY: 200 lithium ion batteries found after fire breaks out in Hell’s Kitchen building

NEW YORK — Residents were forced from their homes Saturday after a fire broke out in a Hell’s Kitchen apartment building.

Firefighters say one person suffered minor injuries, but fortunately, no one was seriously injured.

Crews were called to the building on 11th Avenue near West 52nd Street around 11:15 a.m.

Neighbors say some good Samaritans jumped into action, ringing buzzers and yelling so everyone knew to get out.

“We didn’t hear any fire alarms or anything. We just woke up because some guy was ringing the buzzer,” resident Xueer Lin told CBS2’s Thalia Perez.

Sierra Queen says she was home alone and had just gotten out of the shower when she heard the commotion.

“I was like, how do I get out? Because I didn’t know where it was coming from. I didn’t know if it was in the actual apartment building, if it was a stove fire or something like that,” she said.

Philip Lee told CBS2 he was hit in the shoulder by hot rubber debris as he fled his fourth floor apartment just in time.

“As I went farther down the stairs, the smoke was almost white, there was so much smoke, and then we managed to get out,” he said.

The fire reached two alarms before it was under control, and fire officials spent the afternoon investigating the cause.

Deputy Fire Chief Jim Coyne says 200 lithium ion batteries were found inside the first floor of the mixed-occupancy building, which has a storefront on the first floor and residential apartments above.

“There were numerous lithium ion batteries in the occupancy,” Deputy Fire Chief Jim Coyne said. “After the control of the fire, we brought in our hazmat units, and they worked to remove … the lithium ion batteries.”

The chief said the first floor was being used as a dispatch for pedicabs. CBS2 asked if those pedicabs use lithium ion batteries, and the fire chief said he’s not sure and that’s all part of the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Red Cross is on the scene helping neighbors find temporary housing.

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