19 people including nine children die in New York apartment blaze

9 January 2022, 23:04

Bronx apartment fire
Firefighters use ladders to gain access to the apartment building in the Bronx where 19 people died (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura). Picture: PA

The city’s mayor, Eric Adams, said the fire was one of the worst that New York has suffered in modern times.

Nineteen people, including nine children, have been killed in an apartment fire in New York City, in what the city’s fire commissioner called one of the worst blazes in recent memory.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the fire “started in a malfunctioning electric space heater” in an apartment unit spanning the second and third floors of the 19-story building.

The door of the apartment was left open, allowing smoke to quickly spread throughout the building, Mr Nigro said.

Mayor Eric Adams called the fire’s toll “horrific”.

“This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times,” he said.

Stefan Ringel, a senior adviser to mayor Eric Adams, confirmed the death toll on Sunday to the Associated Press, while a city official, who was not authorised to speak publicly, confirmed the number of children dead.

More than 60 people were injured and 13 people were still in critical condition in the hospital, Ringel said.

According to the FDNY, approximately 200 firefighters responded to the scene at the Bronx’s Twin Park apartments, a 19-storey building on East 181st Street.

Apartment Building Fire
Firefighters work outside the apartment building in the Bronx where 19 people died (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

News photographers at the scene captured images of firefighters entering the upper floors of the burning building on a ladder, multiple limp children being given oxygen after being carried from the building and evacuees with their faces covered in soot.

Firefighters “found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” Nigro said. “That is unprecedented in our city.”

Mr Nigro compared the severity of the fire to the Happy Land social club fire, which killed 87 people in 1990 when a man set fire to the building after getting into an argument with his former girlfriend and being thrown out of the club.

According to Mr Nigro, Sunday’s fire originated in a duplex apartment spanning the second and third floors.

Apartment Building Fire
Emergency personnel work at the scene of the fatal fire in the Bronx (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Firefighters found the door to the apartment open, he said, which apparently allowed the fire to accelerate and spread smoke upward quickly.

A resident of the building, Cristal Diaz, 27, told the New York Post she was drinking coffee in her living room when she smelled the smoke.

“We started putting water on towels and the bottom of the door. Everything was crazy,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. We looked out the windows and saw all the dead bodies they were taking with the blankets.”

Sunday’s blaze came just days after a Philadelphia house fire killed 12 people, including eight children, was the deadliest fire at a US residential apartment building since 2017 when 13 people died in an apartment in the Bronx neighbourhood of New York City, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.

That fire started after a three-year-old boy was playing with stove burners.

The deadliest fire prior to that was in 1989 when a Tennessee apartment building fire claimed the lives of 16 people.

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Joe Biden

Biden issues new warning to Russia over invading Ukraine

George Floyd case

Jury selection begins in US federal trial over killing of George Floyd

Covid Austria

Austrian parliament approves universal vaccine mandate

Capitol riot investigation

Capitol investigation committee requests interview with Ivanka Trump

Entrance to Auschwitz

UN approves resolution to condemn denial of the Holocaust

Afghanistan women's protest

Woman activist arrested by Taliban in raid on her home in Kabul

Antony Blinken

US warns of ‘swift, severe’ response if Russia invades Ukraine

Scene of Liberia stampede

At least 29 people die in stampede at religious festival in Liberia

Novak Djokovic is reportedly preparing to sue the Australian government.

Novak Djokovic 'to sue Australian government for £3m' over deportation

Liz Truss will urge Mr Putin to engage in "meaningful discussions" about the situation in Ukraine

Putin must 'step back' from war and free world will 'stand its ground', says Foreign Sec

Antony Blinken and Annalena Baerbock

US and European diplomats meet in Berlin to discuss Ukraine situation

Former Pope Benedict failed to act on child sexual abuse

Pope Benedict 'failed to act' in four child sexual abuse cases, report finds

Audio footage has been obtained from the final conversation between the Texas synagogue attacker Malik Akram and his younger brother Gulbar, who urged his sibling to surrender.

'Think about your kids': Brother's desperate phone call with Texas synagogue attacker

Russian Sukhoi 30 jet

Russia accuses the West of ‘plotting provocations’ over Ukraine

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Former Pope Benedict criticised over handling of sexual abuse claims

Tina Turner at Wembley

Tina Turner and husband buy £56m estate on shore of Lake Zurich