Washington Heights apartment fire in Manhattan hospitalizes four, with a 98-year-old woman among victims

Investigation underway as four critically injured after 565 West 190th Street apartment fire; electric scooter eyed as a possible cause.

Four people were hospitalized after a fire broke out inside an apartment in Washington Heights, Manhattan, including a 98-year-old woman.

The incident occurred Sunday at 565 West 190th Street just before 1:00 p.m., when firefighters arrived on the scene after receiving a 911 call of a fire that took rescuers an hour to put out, ABC7 NY reported.

Authorities removed a battery to see if it was the cause of the fire, which firefighters determined was not the cause of the fire. However, they have emphasized the prevention of the use of lithium-ion batteries.

Several apartments and hallways were left with smoke and water damage, but the fire damage was contained to the apartment.

Witnesses described black smoke coming from the fourth-floor window, where firefighters had to break a window housing an air conditioner, which was thrown out into the street.

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The four residents were transported to the hospital because they were in critical condition. All the victims are of legal age, but neighbors admitted to being concerned about a 98-year-old woman who has lived in the building for more than 40 years and enjoys the affection of many neighbors who grew up sharing with her.

“We call her ‘mamita.’ They brought her to the ambulance. Everyone is worried, and we hope they are well,” said neighbor Valery Tabares.

For his part, the chief of the Fire Department of New York, Brian Gorman, specified that there was an electric bicycle in the apartment, which has generated suspicion as to whether that was the cause of the fire or if it was simply there.

The FDNY chief added that the bike looked more like a scooter and did not burn completely, as in other fires caused by lithium batteries.