Two police officers and several tenants were injured at the East Harlem flat fire after a man wanted on domestic violence charges allegedly locked himself in a room and ignited the blaze.
Footage shared widely online shows a ginger cat hanging out of the window as huge flames lick behind him.
Police officers beckon to the terrified tabby, who appears to hesitate, and starts to head back into the flat window before making the jump.
Amazing video of a cat jumping out of a second floor window in East Harlem Saturday. Police responded to a domestic dispute at Lincoln Houses where they say man locked himself inside apartment & set it on fire. 7 people hurt including 2 cops @NBCNewYork (courtesy Aaron Ganaway) pic.twitter.com/1nLmFnsW0U
— Anjali Hemphill (@AnjaliHemphill)
He is blackened by the flames as he hurtles down the wall and leaps towards officers.
The crowd cheers as he lands safely into a police officer’s arms and his smoking tail is quickly extinguished.
A passer-by manages to pick up the cat, which looks visibly burnt but alive and well, and returns it to officers.
Police eventually forced their way into the apartment where the fire broke out. The occupant was taken to hospital.
Resident Destiny Robinson watched as her mother went back in to the burning building to rescue her nine-year-old sister and 15-year-old brother trapped two floors above.
She told NBC news: "My brother and sister were in that room right there, he opened the window and that's when I saw the flames go up, so I was just panicking, like 'the kids, the kids, please get my brother and sister out the room' because I didn't want to see anything happen to them”.
People on social media hailed the brave red cat as a “true New Yorker” as the video racked up over 162,000 views as of Monday.
One man replied: “That's a crazy video. I love cats. If that cat had nine lives it just used up eight of them.”
Another added: “Such a smart, brave little kitty. A true New Yorker!”
Shane Murphy said: "The cat appears to be a little burnt, but overall quite ok. Still moving around freely, a very positive sign."