A devastating five-alarm fire broke out in an apartment building in the Fordham Heights neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City on Sunday, killing at least 19 people, including nine children. More than 200 firefighters with the Fire Department of New York battled the blaze, which was first reported around 11 a.m. in the 19-floor building.
Officials described as one of the worst fires in decades. NYC Mayor Eric Adams said during a press conference: “This is a horrific, horrific, painful moment for the city of New York and the impact of this fire is going to really bring a level of just pain and despair in our city. This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed during modern times in the city of New York.” According to data by the National Fire Protection Association, the 19 deaths makes the blaze the third deadliest apartment fire in the United States.
NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro confirmed that the fire may have been sparked by a faulty electric space heater, stating the blaze began in an apartment spanning the building’s second and third floors. Said Nigro: “The fire consumed that apartment that is on two floors and part of the hallway. The door to that apartment, unfortunately, when the residents left was left open it did not close by itself. The smoke spread throughout the building, thus the tremendous loss of life and other people fighting for their lives at hospitals throughout the Bronx.”
Fire officials said 63 people were deemed to have suffered injuries so far, with at least 32 of them taken to area hospitals. Officials have not released the names of any of the victims. In a press conference Sunday evening, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state would establish a victim’s compensation fund for those impacted by the fire. Said Hochul: “We are indeed a city in shock. It’s impossible to go into that room, where scores of families, who are in such grief, who are in pain, to see in a mother’s eyes as I held her, who lost her entire family … it’s hard to fathom what they are going through.”
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