Woman Completes New York City Marathon 1 Day After Running Down 33 Flights of Stairs to Escape Fire

Jillian Mitchell and her boyfriend Parker Timmerman were among the residents of a Manhattan apartment building who were forced to flee after fire officials say a lithium-ion battery in an electric bicycle in one of the building's units caught fire.

Residents inside a New York apartment building found themselves trapped or having to save themselves after fire officials say a lithium-ion battery in an electric bicycle in an apartment caught fire. Among those who ran for their lives was one woman who, the next day, ran the New York City Marathon

“There was definitely a moment, especially when we ran into so many people in the stairwell panicking, that I thought, ‘I don’t think we’re going to make it out,’” Jillian Mitchell told Inside Edition. 

Mitchell and her boyfriend Parker Timmerman quickly realized something was wrong in their building in Midtown Manhattan on Saturday.   

“We opened our front door to go outside, and check and the hallway was filled with this thick smoke, and we immediately turned around, got all of our important belongings and rushed to the stairwell,” Mitchell said.  

The couple ran down 33 flights of stairs to make it to safety. Mitchell had to be treated at the scene with oxygen, but she still went on to run in the largest marathon in the world. She finished in 20,438th place out of 47,743 runners. 

At least 38 people were injured, two of them critically, in the fire in Mitchell’s building on East 52nd Street, officials said. The unit where the fire began had at least five e-bikes, Chief Fire Marshal Daniel E. Flynn said, The New York Times reported. About 200 fires in New York City this year have been caused by lithium-ion batteries, resulting in six deaths, Flynn said.  

Firefighters were forced to use a last-resort method rarely used to rescue some residents trapped inside. Dangling off the high-rise, firefighters tied ropes secured from the roof around the people and then slowly lowered them to the floor below, where they could be pulled inside to safety. The firefighters were 20 stories above ground and dealing with heavy smoke as they worked on the daring rescue.  

“No pedal or e-bikes allowed beyond this point,” a sign outside the apartment building read, according to the Times. Any device that uses powerful lithium-ion batteries could cause a risk, not only those in bicycles, fire officials said.

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