NEW YORK (AP) – At least 19 people, including nine children, died on Sunday in a Bronx apartment building fire, the worst in New York City in more than three decades.
Stephen Ringel, a senior adviser to Mayor Eric Adams, confirmed the death toll. He said the children killed were 16 years of age or less.
Ringel said 13 people were hospitalized in critical condition. Altogether more than five dozen people were injured. Fire Commissioner Daniel Negro said most of the victims had inhaled serious smoke.
Adams called the toll of the fire “terrible.” At a news conference near the building on Sunday, he said: “This is going to be one of the deadliest fires we’ve seen in modern times.”
“Firefighters “found victims on every floor and were evacuating them in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” Negro said.
About 200 firefighters responded to the building on East 181 Street at around 11 a.m. Sunday. Preliminary reports said the fire started on the third floor of the 19-storey building, with flames pouring out of the windows.
News photographers captured images of firefighters entering the upper floors of a burning building on a staircase, several lame children being given oxygen and evacuated with faces covered in soot.
Building resident Kristal Diaz, 27, told the New York Post that she began putting wet towels under her door after smelling smoke while sipping coffee in her living room.
“Everything was crazy,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. We looked out the windows and saw they were carrying all the dead bodies with blankets.”
Negro said the fire broke out on Sunday in a duplex apartment on the second and third floors. He said firefighters found the apartment door open, which apparently caused the fire to spread quickly and smoke upwards.
Officials said the fire is not being treated as suspicious in origin, but the cause is being investigated.
The 120-unit Twin Park is one of several buildings in the Northwest complex and was built in 1973 as part of a project to create modern, affordable housing in the Bronx.
“Many of these buildings are old. Not every apartment has a fire alarm. Most of these buildings have no sprinkler systems,” U.S. Representative Richie Torres, a Democrat who represents the area, said on MSNBC. “And so the risk of fire in the low-income neighborhoods in the Bronx is very high, It could be in the city or anywhere else in the country.”
Negro and Torres both compared the severity of the fire to the 1990 fire at the Happy Land Social Club, where 87 people were killed after a man got into an argument with his ex-girlfriend and was kicked out of the Bronx club building. I was set on fire.
The city had the highest death toll in the fire since the Happy Land fire broke out on Sunday. It was also the deadliest U.S. residential apartment building fire since 2017, when 13 people died in an apartment building in the Bronx, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.
The fire began with a 3-year-old boy playing with a stove burner and New York City saw several law changes, requiring the fire department to educate children and parents about fire safety, and setting up some residential buildings. Involved in making a plan for the requirement. self closing doors.
Sunday’s fire came just days after 12 people, including eight children, were killed when a fire broke out in a home in Philadelphia. The deadliest fire before that was in 1989 when a fire in a Tennessee apartment building killed 16 people.
Associated Press reporter Michelle L. Price contributed to this report.
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