He quickly learned he knew two residents of the building: Ramel Thompson, 44, and Dorel Anderson, 38, a couple. The three had met each other through a tight-knit disability community: Mr. Thompson and Ms. Anderson both have cerebral palsy, and Mr. Jones is an advocate for disability rights.
After failing to contact the couple, Mr. Jones and about 100 others, many of them relatives of the couple and members of the disabled community, began a 24-hour search for them, much of it online.
He also knew the couple lived on the 13th floor, and was particularly worried about Ms. Anderson, who uses a wheelchair.
Mr. Jones said he never considered contacting the city for assistance. Instead, he amplified the missing couple on social media, reached out to his media contacts and called friends for information, including a firefighter who had been on the scene. “We live in the age of social media, and I’ve seen miracles happen,” Mr. Jones said.
A relative eventually found the couple at Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, N.Y., on Monday, where they were transferred to an advanced burn unit. Ms. Anderson and Mr. Thompson were still being treated; Ms. Anderson’s wheelchair was missing.
Breanna Elleston, 27, said she heard her best friend Sera Janneh, 27, was missing on Sunday. Ms. Elleston assumed that Ms. Janneh was in the hospital, unidentified. She called a few close friends and asked them to reach out to her. Their calls went straight to voice mail.
So Ms. Elleston made an Instagram post about her friend, and asked followers to share it, to “see if they knew anybody that worked in nearby hospitals, if they see her face, they could match it up with a picture.” There was still no luck.