What to Know
- Dozens of firefighters converged on the heart of Midtown Manhattan Friday after a raging fire broke out at a high-rise office building
- The fire erupted at 330 Madison Ave. — a block from Bryant Park
- Twelve units responded to the scene, with dozens of firefighters combating the blaze, according to fire officials
Violent flames and thick black smoke engulfed a high-rise office building in the heart of Manhattan Friday morning, sending employees and customers who had been inside fleeing by the hundreds as stunned bystanders watched the drama.
The fire broke out around 10 a.m. at 330 Madison Ave. — a block from Bryant Park, between East 42nd and East 43rd streets. At least one witness told News 4 it may have started in the lobby, among Christmas decorations, before spreading to the second floor.
In Photos: Midtown High Rise Engulfed in Plumes of Smoke as Dozens of Firefighters Combat Fire
Casey Beal, an employee in the building who works on the 14th floor, said the fire alarm went off, adding "you could see black smoke outside the windows."
Dimytro Fedkowskyj, another employee, said that as he was leaving staircase started to get backed up and fill with smoke, but that the building personnel made sure everyone got out.
FDNY Deputy Chief Dean Koester commended the building personnel for bringing out everyone to safety.
"The building personnel performed the evacuation very well," he said, adding that "they had people exit from a different entrance, so that was perfect."
The official origin and cause remain under investigation.
Video from the scene shows the surrounding area blocked off by fire trucks as fire personnel work doggedly to combat the blaze. Intense flames could be seen billowing out of lower floors as jarring black smoke filled the Midtown air.
Those evacuated were allowed to go back in after 1 p.m., around the same time that streets were reopened.
Twelve units responded to the scene, with about 65 firefighters combating the blaze, fire officials said. Sources said the blaze was under control before noon.
No injuries have been reported, according to fire officials.