A fire in a Bronx high-rise apartment killed ten adults and nine children yesterday, January 9th, CNBC reports. The blaze is said to have been started by a malfunctioning portable space heater and began around 11 AM ET at a 19-story residential building on East 181st Street in the New York neighbourhood.
Roughly 200 firefighters responded to the scene, and Mayor Eric Adams referred to it as “one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times” during a Sunday afternoon news conference.
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Reports say that a total of 63 people were injured, with New York City Fire Department Commissioner Dan Nigro anticipating “numerous fatalities” while speaking at a press conference, adding that many of the victims suffered from severe smoke inhalation.
The fire and smoke spread extra rapidly through the building because the door to the duplex where the flames originated was left open. “We’ve spread the word, ‘close the door, close the door,’ to slow the spread,” Nigro explained.
“[Firefighters] found victims on every floor and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he recalled. A full investigation has yet to be conducted, but the Commissioner has already said he “doesn’t believe the source will be deemed suspicious.”
New York Governor Kathy Hochul also shared a statement regarding the tragedy on Twitter, writing, “I am horrified by the devastating fire in the Bronx today. My heart is with the loved ones of all those we’ve tragically lost, all of those impacted and with our heroic @FDNY firefighters. The entire State of New York stands with New York City.”
RIP to the 19 lives lost.