January 8, 1997 in Nation/World

Fire Guts Lionel Hampton’s Apartment

From Wire Reports

Fire gutted the posh high-rise apartment of jazz legend Lionel Hampton on Tuesday afternoon, destroying the famed musician’s home and sending scores of panicked residents fleeing into the streets below.

Witnesses gasped as firefighters dangling from a rope smashed through a 29th-floor window and lowered themselves to an office to comfort two women trapped in dense, choking smoke.

Two attendants who work for the 83-year-old Hampton, confined to a wheelchair since suffering two strokes in 1995, got him safely out of the apartment.

Ten firefighters and seven others were injured in the blaze at One Lincoln Plaza, which started when a halogen lamp tipped over and ignited a piece of furniture in Hampton’s 28th-floor suite, Fire Department spokesman Elbert Washington said.

Firefighters said Hampton’s apartment, which overlooks Broadway and Lincoln Center, was destroyed - and with it scores of vintage record albums and a baby grand piano.

Hampton helped break music’s color line in the 1930s when he joined Benny Goodman’s band. The Alabama native went on to achieve fame as a composer, conductor and the leader of his own band.

Besides Hampton, the building is home to Hendrik Hertzberg, the editorial director of The New Yorker; Ben Vereen, the actor, and Linda Lavin, the actress.

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