An Upper West Side man died when a fire erupted in his fifth-floor apartment in one of two blazes that kept Manhattan firefighters busy Monday.
Robert Gutierrez, 28, died in his bedroom at 120 W. 105th St., between Amsterdam and Columbus Aves. The cause of the blaze remained under investigation Monday night.
Gutierrez’s relatives said he had been in a wheelchair since 2016, when he was paralyzed in a shooting.
Blair Zhou, 25, called 911 around 4:30 p.m. as smoke clouded her sixth-floor apartment.
“Smoke was coming up from down below. Suddenly our living room was filled with black smoke,” Zhou said.
Concerned for her disabled neighbor a floor below, Zhou raced downstairs to his apartment.
“I knocked hard, very hard. And nothing came. So we left,” she said.
Minutes later, firefighters found Gutierrez in the flame-engulfed bedroom of his apartment. They brought him to the building’s lobby, but EMS workers could not save him.
A longtime resident heard a cry as the victim’s mother was notified at the scene of her son’s tragic death.
“She had asked someone go and ask if her son had passed. They came back and said he was gone. She ended up on the ground. They had to take her away,” said Thelma Bradley.
Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to Gutierrez’s apartment.
About an hour earlier, flames erupted from the sixth-floor windows of an apartment at the Chelsea 7th Condo Complex at 170 W. 23rd St., just off Seventh Ave.
“I smelled fire — the smoke — and I heard a loud crash. I looked out of the window and I saw the fire. And I ran,” said third-floor resident Max Tokatlilar, 28.
The blaze was in the rear bedroom of an apartment on the building’s sixth floor.
“It took a few minutes to make a strong push into the apartment,” said Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Schiralli. “The ceiling had come down in the apartment and there was a heavy clutter situation.”
The FDNY sent 138 firefighters to the scene.
Dramatic video posted by Todd Haskell on Twitter shows flames pouring out two windows of the burning apartment as two firefighters approached on the roof.
Schiralli said a drone helped firefighters see part of the fire invisible from the street.
“When you’re on the ground it’s hard to get a picture of what’s going on in the building or on the roof,” he said.
Second-floor resident Wayne Teigman, 49, said he expected water damage to his apartment.
“Everything that is in there is damaged,” he said. “I was happy that my dog was with me. But now all you gonna go back to is just mush. I’m homeless. I got nowhere to go now.”
The FDNY said the blaze was brought under control just after 5:30 p.m. Four firefighters suffered minor injuries in and two of them had to be take to the hospital.
In Queens, six firefighters were hurt and dozens of tenants were displaced in a fast-moving blaze on 41st Ave. near 80th St. in Elmhurst reported about 11:20 p.m. Sunday.
None of the firefighters was seriously hurt. The cause of the blaze was under investigation.