Thick smoke filled the middle floors of a beachfront high-rise and residents hung from windows as a fire injured 29 people and prompted the evacuation of more than 300 on Sunday.
Firefighters used ladders to rescue residents from the Triton Tower Condominium. They brought the fire under control in about an hour.
“The potential for a catastrophe was very great,” Fire Chief Luis Garcia said. “It looks like the people are all going to be all right, and that’s a minor miracle.”
The 17-story building is more than 30 years old, and none of the floors above the third-story parking garage was equipped with fire sprinklers, Garcia said. The high-rise was built before the city’s building code was changed in 1991 to require sprinklers on every floor.
One person was in serious condition at Mount Sinai Medical Center and nine others were sent to hospitals, officials said. Another 19 people were treated at the scene.
An electrical malfunction in the building’s parking garage started the fire, officials said.
Heavy black smoke and electrical outages made it difficult for some residents to escape by stairwells.
Older buildings were not required to add sprinklers under the 1991 code. But after a fire killed two people in a high-rise last May, city officials said they would require older buildings to install them. The new regulations haven’t taken effect yet.
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