A residential fire broke out in the afternoon of Friday, June 8, at the Manhattan apartment of actor Robert De Niro.
According to building residents, the fire began in the fourth-floor laundry room of De Niro’s apartment at 88 Central Park West. The actor was not home at the time. His spokesman, Stan Rosenfield, told reporters that De Niro is out of the country.
A spokesman for the New York Fire Department (FDNY) told reporters that 78 firefighters responded to the 2:00 p.m. alarm call about the fire. It took about an hour to extinguish the flames.
FDNY Battalion Chief Mike Meyers told the New York Post that flames engulfed the whole fifth floor of the apartment building. There was extensive fire, smoke, and water damage to that floor, and some damage to apartments on the fourth and sixth floors.
No residents of the 12-story building were injured in the blaze. The New York Times reported that the Academy-award winning actress Celeste Holm, 95, and her husband, Frank Basile, 49—both residents of the building—were trapped in their apartment on the fifth and sixth floors.
De Niro reportedly paid $23 million for the 15-room apartment.
The precise cause of the fire is still under investigation. According to the New York Post, Chief Meyers believes that the clothes dryer in the laundry room sparked the blaze, and an unidentified firefighter at the scene told reporters lint in the dryer caught fire.
The staff and premises liability attorneys at Speaks Law Firm are pleased to hear that nobody was injured in this apartment fire. We hope the people in our community will take away the message that residential fires can strike at any time, in the homes of famous actors and salt-of-the-earth everyday people. Every family should be alert for defective or worn out home appliances that can start fires. Every family should install smoke detectors in their homes and test them regularly. Just as important, every household should develop and practice an evacuation plan in case of a fire.