It has been confirmed that a malfunctioning space heater sparked the fire in the Bronx apartment building that killed 19 people, nine of them being children.
The fire was the deadliest that New York City has seen in the past three decades, with the possibility of the death toll still rising. 63 people were injured and at least 13 were hospitalized in critical condition. “The numbers are horrific,” Mayor Eric Adams said on Sunday at a news conference. “This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times in the city of New York.”
The fire started shortly before 11 a.m. on the second and third floors of the 19-story building in Fordham Heights. The fire spread quickly throughout the building because a door was left open, giving the flames more room to travel. Firefighters were called and showed up within three minutes, but by that time the smoke had spread throughout the entire height of the building. Firefighters stated that they found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac arrest.
“The smoke conditions in this building were unprecedented,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. Several of the residents delayed evacuation due to the frequent false fire alarms. By the time they realized that there was an acutal fire, it was too late.
The severity of the fire has been compared to the 1990 fire at Happy Land social club in the Bronx that killed 87 people.
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