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Gay Man Killed, Husband Critically Injured in Manhattan High-Rise Fire: VIDEO


A tragic high-rise fire at 500 W. 43rd street in Hell's Kitchen on Sunday claimed the life of a recently-married gay man and critically injured his husband as they tried to escape, NBC New York reports:

The men, 27-year-old Daniel McClung and 32-year-old Michael Todd Cohen, were found in a stairwell near the 31st floor of The Strand condominium suffering from smoke inhalation and burns after the three-alarm fire erupted more than 10 stories below at the building on West 43rd Street, the FDNY said.

McClung died and Cohen is in stable condition at a hospital. The couple married in July, neighbors told NBC 4 New York.

More than 200 firefighters responded to put out the blaze, which began in a hallway of the 20th floor, according to the FDNY.

Watch the NBC News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Our thoughts go out to the couple's family and friends and everyone affected by this fire.

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  1. First rule of a fire is : Don't be a hero. Should have stayed in their studio.

    Posted by: StopDropandRoll | Jan 6, 2014 9:20:35 AM

  2. when the reports said two men, i had a feeling it would be family.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Jan 6, 2014 9:31:59 AM

  3. First rule of Towleroad commentariat: Blame the victims.

    Anyways, this story is incredibly sad.

    Posted by: crispy | Jan 6, 2014 9:38:35 AM

  4. I sent ABC news an e-mail. NEW YORK ONE is reporting the story as "husband" of man dies while ABC is reporting it as simply one man dies and another man injured. They ignore the fact that they were married.

    Posted by: Spike | Jan 6, 2014 9:47:00 AM

  5. Very sad! I have friends who live in that building (fortunately on a much lower floor) and I've been in it many times.

    My deepest sympathies to Michael Todd Cohen.

    Posted by: Josh | Jan 6, 2014 9:50:08 AM

  6. Well, this is tragic.

    Modern buildings don't do fire escapes very well. Stairwells are supposed to provide positive pressure to prevent smoke rising through the building and cutting off any escape, but no one really works hard at this. If when you open the staircase door and air comes out it's a good sign.

    Posted by: anon | Jan 6, 2014 10:28:50 AM

  7. This is why I have a fear of high rises.I know this rarely happens but its a fear I have.RIP Daniel and my prayers go out to his husband,Michael

    Posted by: Kim | Jan 6, 2014 10:31:23 AM

  8. Wonder what floor they started out on. Strange to have burns if not within 1 floor of the fire - given that it looks contained from the pics. The smoke would be bad,, but flames wouldn't be 10 stories above the fire without all the other units in between being affected.

    If you live in a highrise. Learn the building's exit requirements. Pressurized stairwells are not always required by code and fairly new. The best thing could be stay in unit OR use stairwell. NEVER get in an elevator - they will open at the hottest floor if the buttons are heat sensors and haven't been turned off yet.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Jan 6, 2014 10:44:07 AM

  9. Was it a drug fire??

    Posted by: Ankerich | Jan 6, 2014 11:33:19 AM

  10. How incredibly sad. My heart goes out to the survivor. I couldn't survive, literally, without my partner. I have a difficult time imagining the grief this man must be experiencing. Just awful.

    Posted by: Nick | Jan 6, 2014 11:46:59 AM

  11. I don't think anyone is "blaming the victims". But, @ANKERICH, that was an incredibly insensitive and very stupid question. The two victims were ten stories above the origin of the fire.

    Regardless, the general rule for high-rises is to stay put and don't open your apt. door, nor try to escape down the stairwells if the fire is below you. The problem with the high-rise where this tragedy occurred is that management gave no clear instructions to the condo's tenants as to what to do in case of a serious fire.

    This is just very, very tragic. My sympathies to Mr. Cohen for his loss and I pray he recovers from this trauma.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 6, 2014 1:08:24 PM

  12. One of the things that should be talked about much more often is that we still haven't found a good way to handle fires in highrises, even after a century of building them. Of course, we could build more protections into new buildings, and make older buildings safer, but that costs money, and we all know how that goes. I don't think being afraid of highrise fires is a stupid fear at all, or working in one for that matter.

    Posted by: Eric | Jan 6, 2014 1:14:19 PM

  13. The pair lived on the 38th floor and were running down the stairs along with some other residents trying to escape the choking smoke — the opposite of what tenants in the fire-proof building were supposed to do, fire officials and experts said.
    “They would have survived, absolutely, if they stayed in their apartment,’’ Esposito said. “It’s not the fire in these fire-proof multiple dwellings that will kill you. It’s the smoke that will kill you.’’

    Pure stupidity

    Posted by: TruthBeSold | Jan 6, 2014 3:50:02 PM

  14. @ "Pure stupidity"

    You're all heart, aintcha'?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jan 6, 2014 4:08:47 PM

  15. If these guys thought that entering a hot, smoke-filled stairwell was a good option, I think we can assume that the situation was worse, or getting worse, in their unit. People generally don't harm themselves if they think have other reasonable options.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 6, 2014 8:53:17 PM

  16. Just terribly sad.

    Posted by: nola fred | Jan 7, 2014 3:50:53 AM

  17. No its just the landlords in nyc are greed greed greed who cares if poeple die as 1% they tell you in nyc thay want every one out thats not 1% true facts thank god we have a new mayor that cares now !!!!!!!!

    Posted by: vincent | Jan 8, 2014 9:18:07 PM

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