Hamilton Heights - A 15-year-old girl died in a massive fire that forced the evacuation of a six-story Hamilton Heights apartment building Monday evening, officials said.
Melisa Mendez was found on a sixth-floor stair landing after flames erupted inside 512 W. 136th St., near Amsterdam Avenue, about 5:45 p.m. and engulfed several floors of the building, relatives and officials said.
Melisa, who relatives said was an excellent student who aspired to a career in medicine, was pronounced dead at the scene.
"She was an honor-roll student. She wanted to do something in medicine, maybe become a doctor," said relative Jeannie Mendez, 18.
Twelve people were injured by the time about 280 firefighters brought the deadly blaze under control at 7:37 p.m., FDNY officials said.
"The biggest challenge was that it extended so quickly," said FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro during a press conference, adding that five hoses needed to be stretched around the building.
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