At least 19 people, including nine children, were killed and dozens were injured in a five-alarm fire that ignited at a Bronx apartment complex on Sunday, officials said.
Stefan Ringel, a senior adviser to New York City Mayor Eric Adams, confirmed the death toll. He said the children who died were 16 years old or younger.
Thirteen people remained hospitalized in critical condition, Ringel said. In all, more than five dozen people were hurt. Most of the victims had severe smoke inhalation, New York City Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.
The fire broke out in a duplex apartment on the second and third floors of the 19-story Twin Parks North West complex in New York City’s West Bronx around 11 a.m., according to fire department. Victims were found on every floor of the building.
The fire department said over 200 members responded to the scene. A five-alarm fire is the largest response to a blaze. Officials said the fire was under control as of 1:27 p.m. ET.
“This is a horrific, epic, painful moment for the city of New York. The impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of pain and despair in our city. The numbers are horrific,” Adams said. “This is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York.”
The Bronx hasn’t had this “horrific” of a fire since the Happy Land fire in 1990, which killed 87 people, Nigro said. Sunday’s disaster was the biggest loss of life in a blaze since that fire.
Sunday’s fire was also the deadliest at a U.S. residential apartment building since 2017 when 13 people died in an apartment building, also in the Bronx, according to data from the National Fire Protection Association.
Officials have not determined a cause. Nigro said the apartment unit where the fire started had the door open, causing the fire and smoke to spread. There was no fire escape in the building.
Adams said schools would be open and people displaced by the fire would be taken there to connect with family.
“The (fire) marshals will investigate this to determine exactly what took place here and what we can do to continue to make it not have a reoccurrence of this magnitude, of a number of potential losses of lives,” Adams said.
Bronx borough President Vanessa Gibson said the American Red Cross would give food and blankets to affected families.
“We’re going to take care of every single resident that lives here at Twin Parks. We want to assure everyone that we will not leave you. This is devastating for all of us,” Gibson said.
The Bronx fire comes after a lithium-ion battery in an electric bike or scooter sparked a four-alarm fire in another part of the Bronx on Saturday morning, resulting in one firefighter sustaining minor injuries.
On Wednesday, 12 people, including eight children, were killed in a house fire in Philadelphia.
Contributing: Associated Press
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