NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — At least two people were hurt when a series of fires officials say appear suspicious broke out late Tuesday morning at a hotel in Times Square.
Around 100 firefighters responded to the two-alarm blaze at the 38-story Staybridge Suites on 40th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.
Dozens of tourists were staying in the Midtown hotel when alarms went off just before noon, forcing every one of them to evacuate. Some of them had to run down over 30 flights of stairs.
“Im still shaking, it was scary,” hotel guest Cynthia Mouftakir said. “I could see I think it was the eighth floor, there were big flames and there was smoke everywhere.”
Guests say hotel employees were running up and down the hallways in an effort to get people out of their rooms to safety. Leigha Jenkins was up on the 20th floor with her young son when the pandemonium broke out.
“We got down about two flights we could see the smoke, it was really heavy and hard to breathe,” she said. “At that point I was panicking.”
Crews responded to fires on three floors; the third, eighth, and eighteenth. One of them was in a hotel room and two were in the hallways, according to FDNY Manhattan Borough Commander Roger Sakowich.
Each of the fires consisted of burning articles which were left behind, according to Sakowich.
Police and fire investigators remained at the hotel and were reviewing video to determine any criminality. It wasnt immediately clear if a person or persons intentionally set the fires, but the FDNY says they dont appear to be accidental.