NEW YORK: Nineteen people, including nine children, died in a fire at a Bronx apartment building on Sunday in one of the worst blazes in New York City in decades.
Mayor Eric Adams called the fire’s toll horrific. “This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times.”
More than sixty people were injured and 13 were in critical condition in hospital. The majority of victims were suffering from severe smoke inhalation, commissioner Daniel Nigro said at a press conference.
Firefighters found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest, he said at an afternoon briefing. “That is unprecedented in our city. We expect there to be numerous fatalities.”
Approximately 200 firefighters responded to the scene at the Twin Park apartments, a 19-storey building.
News photographers at the scene captured images of firefighters entering the upper floors of the burning building on a ladder, multiple limp children being given oxygen after being carried from the building and evacuees with their faces covered in soot.
Nigro, the commissioner, compared the severity of the fire to the Happy Land social club fire, which killed 87 people in 1990 when a man set fire to the building after getting into an argument with his former girlfriend and being thrown out of the club.
According to Nigro, Sunday’s fire originated in a duplex apartment spanning the second and third floors. Firefighters found the door to the apartment open, he said, which apparently allowed the fire to accelerate and spread smoke upward quickly.
The fire is not believed to be suspicious in origin, but the cause is under investigation.