NYC Fire Kills Newlywed Gay Man, Injures Husband

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Monday Jan 6, 2014

A fire that blazed through a 42-story apartment building in Manhattan Sunday morning killed a newlywed gay man and injured his husband as they tried to escape the building, NBC's 4 New York reports.

Daniel McClung, a 27-year-old playwright as DNA Info New York reports, and his husband, Michael Todd Cohen, 32, were found in a stairwell near the 31st floor of The Strand condominium, located on West 43rd Street. The men, who live on the 38th floor, suffered from smoke inhalation and burns.

The fire occurred more than 10 stories below where the men live around 11:02 a.m., according to officials from the New York Fire Department.

DNA Info New York reports McClung was taken to Roosevelt Hospital and pronounced dead, police said. Cohen was reportedly taken to New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital in critical condition. 4 New York reports that he's currently in stable condition.

More than 200 firefighters responded to the fire, which started on the building's 20th floor. Authorities said, it took firefighters an hour and 40 minutes to control the fire.

"In a building this size, it takes a lot of firefighters to get up to the upper floors," assistant chief John Sudnik told 4 New York. "It requires a lot of resources and it takes time."

Authorities are not sure how the fire started and the resident of the apartment where the blaze started said he was at the store when the fire ignited.

"If people would have stayed in and opened a window in their apartment and stayed near the window and waited for the fire department to come, they would have been better off," Sudnik said.

DNA Info New York reports (via McClung's online profile) that McClung was a playwright and fiction writer who worked for the Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Public School 122 and AliveWire Theatrics.

Seven other people in the building and some firefighters suffered minor injuries.

George Galey, a resident who lives on the 22nd floor, said there was smoke damage to his apartment.

"First thing I thought it was fog," he told 4 New York. "Then I couldn't see the building across street. I knew it was more than fog, it was smoke."

Footage of the fire via Associated Press' YouTube account below:


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