An electric space heater is the likely cause of New York’s worst fire disaster in 30 years. The tragic high-rise Bronx apartment fire killed at least 19 people, including nine children.
New York’s Worst Fire Disaster in 30 Years
FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro said that the fire originated in a duplex on the second and third floors of the high-rise apartment.
The fire never spread past the unit and the hallway, However, smoke generated from the blaze spread throughout the 19-story building.
The fire department attributed the majority of deaths to smoke inhalation. Nigro said that when the residents evacuated, they left the door to the duplex apartment open. “The smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life,” Nigro said.
The FDNY also said that they will investigate the building’s fire alarm system. Nigro did say that one alarm enabled a neighbor to report the first 911 call.
Nigro also said that the building’s heating system worked fine as well. The residential apartment is 50 years old and houses 120 residential units, according to building records.
The property did not have any major building violations or complaints. Property owners rectified all minor complaints. In addition, building records showed no structural violations.
63 Injured, 19 Dead From New York’s Worst Fire Disaster in 30 Years
Earlier, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that a total of 63 people received injuries from the Bronx fire. Officials brought 32 people to nearby hospitals due to life-threatening injuries.
Officials classified another nine injuries as serious. 19 of the victims eventually died from their injuries.
The overwhelming majority of the victims suffered severe smoke inhalation. Firefighters who rushed into the scene found victims on nearly all floors of the buildings.
Many experienced cardiac and respiratory arrest. While officials did not disclose the names and ages of victims, they confirmed that the death toll included nine children.
‘One of the Worst Fires in New York’
Adams described the situation as one of the worst in the city’s history. “This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed here in modern times in the City of New York,” Adams said.
Videos posted on social media show flames spewing out from duplex windows as smoke covered nearly the entire building.
“There were certainly people trapped in their apartments all through this building,” Nigro said. He described the smoke conditions as “unprecedented,” noting how it extended throughout the entire building. Nigo said that around 200 members of the NYFD responded to the alarm. It took them three hours to subdue the blaze.
Firefighters Ran Out of Oxygen During Rescue
Firefighters rescued residents by evacuating them from windows and climbing down ladders. Several firefighters ran out of oxygen during the course of rescuing victims. Nevertheless, the NYFD personnel continued operations without oxygen until they cleared the fire.
Meanwhile, City officials opened the Angelo Patri Middle School to residents of the building as a temporary evacuation shelter.
The city’s Red Cross will also be on hand to offer assistance to families affected by New York’s worst fire disaster in 30 years.
Watch the ABC news video reporting that an Apartment fire kills at least 19 in the Bronx:
What do you think happened that caused the fire in a Bronx apartment? Do you think that the safety measures worked adequately?
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