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One dead and at least seven injured in NYC high-rise fire

By Haimy Assefa. Mayra Cuevas and Chris Welch, CNN
updated 5:30 PM EST, Mon January 6, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Fire is ruled accidental, caused by electrical equipment in a power strip
  • Daniel McClung died after being trapped in a stairwell, a spokesman says
  • Firefighters contained the fire around noon; it broke out on the 20th floor of high-rise
  • Seven others had injuries; one of them was sent to a hospital

New York (CNN) -- One person died and at least seven others were injured Sunday after a three-alarm fire broke out in a New York City high-rise, authorities said.

Daniel McClung, 27, was remembered by a close friend as a brilliant and beautiful person, inside and out. McClung was a playwright, a deep thinker with incredible wit and an appreciation for art and great music, said friend Dave Brown.

He said McClung married his husband this past summer in Boston and that they were very much in love. The couple had recently moved into the high-rise.

McClung died after being trapped in a stairwell, said a spokesman for the Office of Deputy Commissioner.

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The spokesman said a second victim was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The 32-year-old man is in stable condition, according to police.

Fire crews gained control of the blaze, which began on the 20th floor of the high-rise in midtown Manhattan, around noon, according to New York City Fire Department spokesman Danny Glover.

The fire was ruled accidental and was caused by pieces of electrical equipment that were plugged into a power strip through several extension cords, Frank Dwyer, a fire department spokesman, said Monday.

Witness video obtained by CNN showed flames shooting out of the building and a large plume of black and white smoke.

Glover confirmed everyone had evacuated the building. He was unsure of when residents would be able to return.

According to Glover, another six people showed signs of possible smoke inhalation.

Fire crews received a call around 11 a.m. alerting them to the fire.

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CNN's Haimy Assefa and Chris Welch reported and wrote in New York City, and Mayra Cuevas wrote in Atlanta. CNN's Dominique Dodley contributed to this report.

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