According to AP News, a faulty space heater on a Sunday morning sparked a fire that filled a high-rise Bronx apartment building with thick smoke, killing nineteen people including nine children.
Trapped residents broke windows for air and stuffed wet towels under doors as smoke rose from a lower-floor apartment where the fire started.
More than 200 firefighters fought the blaze, at a 120-unit, 19-storey building on East 181st Street known as Twin Parks.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said that investigators found the fire started in a malfunctioning electric space heater in an apartment unit spanning the second and third floors of the 19-story building. The door to the apartment and a door to a stairwell was left open, letting smoke quickly spread throughout the building, Nigro said.
Firefighters found victims on every floor, many of them in cardiac and respiratory arrest, said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro.
Multiple limp children were seen being given oxygen after they were carried out. Evacuees had faces covered in soot.
City officials had earlier reported that more than 63 people were injured in the blaze. Of that total, 32 suffered life-threatening injuries, nine were seriously injured and 22 had non-life-threatening injuries. The majority of the injuries were due to smoke inhalation, said Nigro.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams said, “The numbers are horrific. This is a horrific, painful moment for the city of New York. The impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of pain and despair in our city. This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York.”
Mayor Eric Adams praised FDNY firefighters for continuing to make rescues even after their oxygen tanks had run out.
“Their oxygen tanks were empty and they still pushed through the smoke,” Adams said.
Sunday’s fire happened just days after 12 people, including eight children, were killed in a house fire in Philadelphia.
NYC: Fire broke out in Bronx high-rise apartment building, killed 19 people including 9 children.
One of the worst fire disasters in the city in 30 years.#NYC #nycfire #Bronx #BronxFire #NewYork #NewYorkfire #EricAdams @josebayona @APAGUSA pic.twitter.com/tY2dGZX1f3
— Vosa Tv (Official) (@vosatvofficial) January 10, 2022