A fire at a Bronx apartment in New York City killed seventeen people, including eight children, and injured scores more.
Officials had earlier stated that 19 people had died in the fire, including nine children, but the death toll was lowered on Monday. According to New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro, the casualties were transferred to seven different hospitals, resulting in the miscount.
Officials said more than 200 firefighters were dispatched to the scene of a five-alarm fire that started Sunday morning in a duplex flat on the third story of a high-rise building in the Bronx’s Tremont neighborhood. According to the New York City Incident Department, the fire injured more than 60 persons.
During a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Nigro said several of the casualties were on the upper floors and were likely suffering from acute smoke inhalation.
According to Nigro, firefighters arrived on the site three minutes after receiving the 911 call and found fire throughout the halls. According to Nigro, the fire and smoke spread because a door was left open, who described the event as “unprecedented.”
According to him, the fire never left the hallway on the floor where it started.
According to city records, the 19-story building was constructed in 1972 and comprised 120 units.
According to the FDNY, the fire started in a bedroom owing to a defective electric space heater. Smoke alarms were working, and it’s still unclear how the smoke got so far in such a short amount of time.
Guillermo Sanchez, a 16th-floor resident, prepared breakfast when he smelled smoke.
He explained, “My son walked to the door.” “We pushed open the door. We locked the door since smoke seeps in quickly.”
Sanchez assumed the smoke was coming from another apartment on the same floor because it was thick.
Sanchez, who was visibly shaken by the event, claimed he and his son dialed 911 but thought they couldn’t safely evacuate the building through the stairs and that they were calling family members to inform them that they might not make it.
The first firefighter who knocked on his door claimed everything was fine, but a half-hour later, another firefighter said, “You have to come with us,” Sanchez recalled.
“This is likely to be one of the worst fires we’ve seen in the city of New York in contemporary times,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams to reporters on Sunday.
Many of the firemen’s oxygen tanks finally ran out, but “they still went through the smoke,” Adams said of the initial responders.
According to dramatic photos shared on social media, fire gushed out of many windows of the structure. Just before 11 a.m., the FDNY began getting calls from various individuals on the upper floors.
Additional information, including the conditions of the additional victims, was unavailable at publication. The people, mostly Muslim and Gambian, would be helped by the city, which will pay special attention to cultural concerns.
At the news conference, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she talked with a mom who lost her whole family in the fire and told the victims, “We will not forget you.” “We are not going to desert you.”
The joint incident that owns the building at 333 E 181st St., Bronx Park Phase III Preservation LLC, said in a statement that it was “devastated” by the catastrophe.
The statement added, “We are heartbroken by the unthinkable loss of life caused by this profound tragedy.” “We’re working closely with the Fire Department and other city agencies to figure out what caused it, and we’re doing everything we can to help our people.” We are thinking about the relatives and friends of those who died or were injured, and we are here to help them as we work to recover from this tragedy.”
In total, 73 people died in fires in New York City in 2021.
This was the Bronx’s second large fire during the weekend. A four-alarm fire in the Fordham Heights district of the Bronx that started early Saturday morning injured a firefighter and displaced three families. The fire was started by a lithium-ion battery, according to authorities.
Last week, a fire on the second floor of a Philadelphia row house killed 13 people, including seven children.