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Indian Journalist Fazil Khan Dies in New York E-Bike Battery Fire

fazil khan

Tragedy struck the vibrant city of New York when a deadly apartment fire erupted in Harlem, claiming the life of an Indian journalist. Fazil Khan, a 27-year-old data reporter, lost his life in the devastating blaze caused by a lithium-ion battery from an e-bike. The incident unfolded at the St. Nicholas Place apartment building, leaving 17 other residents injured.

Who Was Fazil Khan?

Fazil Khan, an alumnus of the Columbia Journalism School, had moved to New York in 2020 to pursue his graduate degree from Columbia University. His passion for journalism led him to work as a data journalist with The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit newsroom focused on reporting on inequality and innovation in education. Based at Teachers College, Columbia University, The Hechinger Report mourned the loss of their “great colleague and wonderful person.” Fazil Khan’s journey began as a copyeditor at Business Standard in 2018, followed by a stint as a correspondent at CNN-News18 in Delhi before he embarked on his American adventure.

The Tragic Incident

The fire at the St. Nicholas Place apartment building was a nightmare for its residents. As flames engulfed the top floors, people resorted to desperate measures to escape. Some jumped out of windows, while others clung to ropes in dramatic rescues. A local witness described the horrifying scene: “The fire was at the top, and people were jumping out of the windows.” Another resident, with only his phone and keys, fled the inferno with his father.

Emergency responders rescued 18 people from the building, with 12 of them admitted to a local hospital. Four remain in critical condition. The Department of Buildings issued a “full vacate” order for the affected building. The Red Cross stepped in to provide temporary housing at a nearby school.

The E-Bike Battery Connection

The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) attributed the fire to lithium-ion batteries, which caused 267 fires, 150 injuries, and 18 deaths in the city in 2023. The tragic incident underscores the importance of safety precautions when handling such batteries.

Condolences to Fazil Khan Family and Assistance

The Indian Embassy in New York expressed deep sorrow over Fazil Khan’s untimely demise. In a statement, they said, “Saddened to learn about the death of 27-year-old Indian national Mr. Fazil Khan in an unfortunate fire incident in an apartment building in Harlem, NY. India in New York is in touch with the late Mr. Fazil Khan’s family and friends. We continue to extend all possible assistance in the repatriation of his mortal remains to India.”

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