9 out of 19 children killed in ‘unprecedented’ New York apartment fire

At least 19 people, including nine children, died Sunday in a building fire in the Bronx in one of New York’s worst fires in decades.

Stefan Ringel, senior adviser to Mayor Eric Adams, confirmed the death toll. He said the children killed were 16 or younger.

Thirteen people remained hospitalized in critical condition, Ringel said. In total, more than 60 people were injured. Most of the victims had severe smoke inhalations, New York City Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said.

Adams called the fire’s toll “horrific”. Speaking at a Sunday afternoon press conference near the building, he said: “This will be one of the worst fires we have seen in modern times.”

Firefighters “found victims on every floor and brought them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” Nigro said. “This is unprecedented in our city. We expect there will be many deaths.”

Firefighters are providing medical assistance at the scene of the Bronx fire. The majority of the victims suffered from severe smoke inhalation, New York City Fire Marshal Daniel Nigro said. (Lloyd Mitchell / Reuters)

About 200 firefighters responded to the 181st Street East building around 11 a.m. Sunday. Initial reports indicated that the blaze was on the third floor of the 19-story building, with flames blowing through the windows.

News photographers at the scene captured footage of firefighters entering the upper floors of the burning building on a ladder, several limp children receiving oxygen after being transported out of the building, and evacuees with their faces covered in soot .

Cristal Diaz, a 27-year-old resident, told the New York Post that she started putting wet towels at the bottom of her door after smelling smoke while drinking coffee in her living room.

“It was all crazy,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. We looked out the windows and saw all the corpses they were carrying with the blankets.”

Sunday’s fire started in a duplex apartment spanning the second and third floors, Nigro said. Firefighters found the apartment door open, he said, which apparently allowed the blaze to accelerate quickly and spread smoke upwards.

According to the FDNY, about 200 firefighters responded to the Twin Park Apartments, a 19-story building on East 181st Street on Sunday morning. (Scott Heins / Getty Images)

The blaze is not believed to be of suspicious origin, but the cause is under investigation, officials said.

The 120-unit building, one of multiple buildings in the Twin Parks Northwest complex, was constructed in 1973 as part of a project to build modern, affordable housing across the Bronx.

“A lot of these buildings are old. Not all apartments have fire alarms. Most of these buildings don’t have sprinkler systems,” said U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat who represents the area, on MSNBC. “And so the risk of fire is much higher in [a] low-income neighborhood in the Bronx than it could be anywhere else in town or in the country. “

History of the deadly fires in the United States

Nigro and Torres both compared the severity of the fire to a 1990 fire at the Happy Land social club, where 87 people were killed when a man set the building on fire after arguing with his former girlfriend and being kicked out of the Bronx club.

Sunday’s death toll was the highest for a fire in the city since the Happy Land fire. It is also the deadliest fire in a U.S. residential building since 2017, when 13 people died in a building, also in the Bronx, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.

This fire started with a three-year-old boy playing with stove burners and led to several law changes in New York City, including asking firefighters to create a plan to educate children and parents about fire safety and by requiring certain residential buildings to install themselves. -close the doors.

Sunday’s fire came just days after 12 people, including eight children, were killed in a house fire in Philadelphia. The deadliest fire before this occurred in 1989, when an apartment building fire in Tennessee claimed the lives of 16 people.

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