Chinatown Souvenir Shop Goes Up in Flames, Injuring 10

Firefighters were still working to extinguish hot spots hours after flames tore through the first couple floors of the mixed-use building

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Ten people were hurt and nearly two dozen families displaced Friday afternoon following a devastating fire that officials say originated in the souvenir shop on the ground floor of a 6-story Chinatown building.

Intense flames pour out of the front of the Mott Street gift shop around 2:30 p.m. and climbed up to the second floor, home to a family association. Dozens of people living in the floors above ran to evacuate as the fire and smoke consumed the bottom floors of the building.

Several people had to be rescued from inside, but everyone was able to make it out alive.

"I've spoken to one tenant who had to escape down the front fire stair of the building and he helped two other residents come down -- one woman was with a young child," said Assemblymember Grace Lee.

The American Red Cross has been activated in hopes of connecting the 21 families who live in the building with housing as wait to hear what comes of their home.

Two civilians and eight firefighters were said to have sustained minor injuries in the chaos. The fire was under control about two hours after it broke out, leaving a charred back hole where a business used to be.

The owner of the souvenir shop on the ground floor said he knew nothing was left inside the store that helped him make a living for more than a year. He said a customer first spotted the flames, and his business was up in smoke in "less than one minute."

The cause of the fire will be determined by FDNY investigators.

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