Fire leaves 1 dead and dozens displaced in Harlem

Nearly a week after a devastating fire tore through 2 St. Nicholas Place, residents are still grappling with the aftermath.

Edric Robinson

Mar 1, 2024, 12:00 AM

Updated 45 days ago

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Nearly a week after a devastating fire tore through 2 St. Nicholas Place, residents are still grappling with the aftermath. The fire, caused by a lithium-ion battery, claimed the life of journalist Fazil Khan and injured 17 others. Meanwhile, dozens of residents have been displaced, some expressing frustration as they navigate temporary accommodations.
"From hotel to hotel, and I got this dog, and they don’t know when the vacate is going to be up,” said Robert Henry, a tenant affected by the fire. He’s lived at the apartment for over 20 years.
“They sent us to a hotel, I was on 124th. And after that checkout, I had to go to the Red Cross - and they sent me to Chinatown. And after this checkout today, I filled out paperwork and they’re sending me to a shelter,” he added.
The fire, which occurred last Friday, prompted a swift response from the FDNY, who conducted a dramatic rope rescue. The Department of Buildings issued a full vacate order for the building but found no structural damage. They observed significant fire damage, including charred beams, damaged walls and windows.
The American Red Cross said they provided emergency assistance to 30 households, consisting of 59 adults, 12 children and 11 pets. Meanwhile, Columbia University held a memorial for Fazil Khan, honoring his contributions as a journalist who dedicated his career to covering education inequality.
“I jumped up on this, and I climbed, and I broke my window right here and I came back down with him on my shoulder,” said Henry, recounting how he saved his dog using the fire escape ladder.
Henry says he now faces concerns about whether the shelter he's being relocated to will allow his dog to stay with him.
As residents seek answers and support, a spokesperson from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development encouraged those in need of shelter to contact the emergency housing hotline at 212-836-7660.


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