Firefighters battling a blaze at the White Plains YMCA found two men dead in the building, and authorities are investigating the fire as a crime.
The fire tore through the building on Mamaroneck Avenue at around 4 a.m. Saturday, police said, and was put within half an hour.
The blaze is suspicious and is being investigated as a homicide, according to White Plains Police Commissioner David Chong.
Chong said the fire started in one of the building's third-floor apartments. One of the men found dead was in the apartment, and the other, a YMCA employee, was found on the first floor.
Lodgers said they saw evidence of a violent struggle as they fled the building in White Plains, just north of New York City. They identified the two dead men as a security guard and a resident known for behavioral problems.
"I was asleep, and all of the sudden the alarm went off and I smelled smoke and heard a crash," resident Barry Faulkner said.
He said that as he left the building in his nightclothes he saw `"blood coming from the hallway to the front desk."
"The guy that did this had problems," he said. "Big, big problems. While the guy at the front desk never had a mean bone in his body."
Six firefighters were taken to White Plains Hospital for heat exhaustion, smoke inhalation and muscle spasms.
It is possible that more than 100 people will be displaced by the blaze, according to Red Cross officials. It is unclear whether any of the residents who live in the building will be allowed back in on Saturday.
"I offer my condolences to the family and loved ones of the victim of this terrible crime," said Karen Pasquale, a senior adviser to the White Plains mayor, in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them today and in the days ahead."